Dr. Sarah Lespérance, Senator Mohamed-Iqbal Ravalia, Dr. Ruth Wilson and Dr. Trina Larsen Soles
On May 4, 2023, the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC) hosted a National Summit on Equitable Access to Medical Transport in Rural Canada at the Wabano Center for Aboriginal Health in Ottawa, Ontario. It was an invitational meeting which gathered individuals from various jurisdictions involved in patient transfer, including those directly responsible for developing policy. Those in attendance included Indigenous organizations, rural patients with lived experience, transport providers, administrative and policy decision-makers, rural healthcare providers, and other key stakeholders.
In 2021 the SRPC, in collaboration with the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), released a Call-to-Action Statement on Rural Patient Transfers. Following the statement’s release, the SPRC’s goal has been to develop a strategic action plan with priority recommendations and concrete deliverables. This plan will help identify partners for action, confirm commitment for implementation, and identify roles for those directly involved in policy development and delivery of transport care.
The Summit gathered key partners to identify strategies for the delivery of rural transport care to ensure equitable access and high-quality healthcare for Canadians living in rural and remote areas. Participants shared innovative practices from across Canada and discussed specific action items that will further inform the SRPC’s work in developing a national patient transport action plan.
Common themes emerging at the Summit included the value of strategic partnerships and relationships to co-create solutions and the need to reduce or remove jurisdictional barriers.
“A national transport strategy and standards, when paired with national licensure, are essential to improve the quality of healthcare services and health equity for rural and Indigenous communities,” stated Dr. Sarah Lespérance, President of the SRPC. “From the energy, passion, humility and innovation shown by all our partners attending the summit, it is clear that the time is now to move forward with this important work.”
Developing strategies for more effective patient transfers requires cooperation and collaboration at a pan-Canadian level. The SRPC is committed to working with our partners to develop a clearly defined action plan that will support the implementation of the Call-to-Action Statement.
The SRPC would like to acknowledge and thank our partner organizations offering support for the Summit, including: Rural Coordination Centre of BC, HealthCare Excellence Canada, Ornge, Health Standards Organization, and Canadian Institute for Health Information. The presence of patient partners to bring the voices of those with lived experiences with rural transport care was graciously facilitated by the Canadian Medical Association and HealthCare Excellence Canada.
About the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada
The Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC) is the national voice of Canadian rural physicians. Founded in 1992, the SRPC’s vision is excellent health care close to home for all rural Canadians with a mission of championing rural generalist medical care through education, collaboration, advocacy and research.
On behalf of its members and the Canadian public, SRPC performs a wide variety of functions, such as developing and advocating health delivery mechanisms, supporting rural doctors and communities, promoting and delivering continuing rural medical education, encouraging and facilitating research into rural health issues, and fostering communication among rural physicians and other groups with an interest in rural health care.
The SRPC is a voluntary professional organization with over 2500 members representing rural physicians spanning the country.
Society of Rural Physicians of Canada