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Health officials push B.C. doctors, nurse practitioners to resume in-person appointments

Many health care providers went to virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic

Several health officials are urging the province’s doctors, nurse practitioners and other health care staff to resume in-person visits as COVID-19 vaccination rates increase.

The Friday letter, signed by Assistant Deputy Minister of the primary care division Ted Patterson, provincial health officer Bonnie Henry and College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. CEO Heidi Oetter, noted that with more than 75 per cent of eligible British Columbians fully vaccinated the virus should “no longer pose a barrier to in-person practice.”

The three officials said that although the increase in virtual care visits during the pandemic been helpful to many patients, and continue to have a role going forward, they said that the pandemic has reinforced the “vital importance” of hands-on care.

“Potential drawbacks of providing only virtual care could result in unnecessary emergency room visits when patients are unable to access necessary face-to-face visits, specialist referrals that lack sufficient or pertinent clinical information for accurate triaging and care, and lack of access to important preventive and screening health services,” the letter stated.

“With appropriate measures in place, we expect all practitioners to resume routine in-person visits based on clinical needs and patient preferences.”

Masks continue to be required in health care settings.


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