Open Letter to BC Physicians

Your Candidate for


Microsoft Word - Document2  Dr. Granger Avery


January 15, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

Are you concerned about the direction health care is taking in Canada? About your ability to provide for your patients?

Despite the hard work you are doing for your patients each and every day, a system that is cherished by Canadians from coast to coast is no longer keeping pace. Recently, the Commonwealth Fund has reported that Canada has slipped to 10th out of 11 Western Nations’ Health systems.

I believe we must do better, and I think the CMA has an indispensable role in reversing the trend and improving the system for all Canadians. That’s why I am asking for your support in my bid to become President-Elect of the CMA.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Granger Avery. As a rural physician, Clinical Professor and medical advocate, I have spent 40 years supporting physician practice in many different ways.

Working with the Doctors of BC (including a term as BCMA President), I helped push for meaningful change, including starting the Wait List project – a national first. You may also recall how the profession responded to my call to overturn unjust proration laws that penalized the profession and the public, and came together in an unprecedented effort, using the Reduced Activity Days (RADs). This exercise of doctors’ power and persuasion has helped us substantially in years since.

Recently, my colleagues and I also helped to highlight the dangers of hospital ‘privileging-by-numbers’, and we offered solutions to a constraining, top-down proposal. Previously, these proposals were a significant threat to our professionalism and of our ability to care for our patients.

Due to my advocacy, with the support of others, we also now have over 40 different programs supporting generalist medicine such as Rural Education Action Plan.

I want to be clear, there are many things our system is doing right and I want to make sure those continue to improve. But I also believe there are glaring gaps – ones that will only increase as our aging population puts more strain on the system.

I believe the CMA can be a strong voice that works with the federal government to identify priorities and to help address these gaps. For example, the CMA can help push for the National Health Strategy that our country desperately needs.

The CMA can also play a central role in the development of a National Pharmacare plan. This would save billions of dollars that could be re-invested in other areas of our health care system such as reducing our distressingly long wait lists which impose unreasonable and unfair pressures on both the patients and their physicians.

For this change to happen, however, I believe we need a mix of experience and new ideas.

As a rural practitioner, I have seen the success of community hospitals and of practitioners doing more with less. I believe some of the lessons I have learned in that world can extend into other areas of care. For example, the creation of community hospitals within cities will allow the tertiary care hospitals and specialists function as they should, while allowing for increased time with the patient and providing better access to the public.

But responsible change also requires experience, and that’s why I think my time with the Doctors of BC, as well as my work on the board of the CMA, has prepared me well to be President-Elect of our organization.

Our profession is blessed with a membership of talented, dedicated and thoughtful practitioners. In hospitals and in your offices each day, we each make a profound impact on our patients and our community. I believe that together we can accomplish the change that returns Canada’s healthcare system to its rightful place.

I respectfully ask for your support.

Microsoft Word - signature.docx

President, Canadian Medical Association (CMA)