There has been increasing public focus on the shortage of physicians to meet the health needs of the residents of British Columbia. By now, it is clear it’s not feasible to expect to hire enough medical doctors to meet demand. Moreover, there may be more realistic and more efficient ways to allocate resources that are already available. Health Minster Terry Lake has elaborated on this point by explaining that not every problem requires a medical doctor and many issues can be addressed by a “primary care team”. Naturopathic doctors can play an integral role in such a model of care.
Licensed naturopathic doctors in British Columbia are highly-trained medical professionals. While the profession has been regulated since 1923, in 2009 the B.C. Ministry of Health approved a new set of regulations which recognizes naturopathic doctors as primary health-care providers. The new regulations bestow on naturopathic doctors sweeping changes to their authority with respect to compounding, prescription authority, dispensing, ordering of laboratory and diagnostic services, and other privileges. This enables naturopathic doctors in British Columbia to have the widest scope of practice in Canada. For nearly a decade, patients have been able to choose an ND for primary care—already reducing the burden on the medical system.
Many British Columbians chose to see naturopathic doctors because they enjoy the personalized care that they receive and alternative treatment options to conventional drugs or surgery. Because NDs mainly practice in private clinics where their services are not publicly-funded, these patients enjoy their preferred method of health care without requiring taxpayer dollars. Also, treatment plans emphasize preventative health and optimal wellness which further reduces the frequency of visits to the medical doctor or hospital.
While the government has recognized naturopathic doctors as primary health care providers, there are still some remaining obstacles that prevent NDs from being an even greater part of the solution to the doctors shortage. Of these, the two most significant are that naturopathic doctors are not permitted universal access to tests run at diagnostic facilities (a commitment made by Health Minister George Abbott 10 years ago and stated in the government’s 2008 Throne Speech) and access to information in PharmaNet.
BCNA has outlined the diverse and extensive primary care on offer, province wide, in a detailed report to government titled Supporting a Sustainable Health System. A highlight of which is the collaborative, interdisciplinary support NDs bring to the provincial health care system, but which government has failed to capitalize on.
This post by BCNA Co-President, Dr. Victor Chan
These days it’s pretty much impossible to go 24 hours without exposing yourself to some sort of potentially dangerous substance or carcinogen. According to the American Cancer Society, carcinogens are the substances, situations, and exposures that can lead to cancer. Generally speaking, everyone’s risk of developing cancer varies, but the three main determinants are genetics, length of time you’re exposed to the substance, and the intensity of the exposure. Here are 5 carcinogen filled products that are better left on the store shelves:
1.Baby powder (Talcum powder)
Found in almost everyone’s bathroom cabinets, baby powder is widely used because of its almost endless possibilities. Not only can it be used as dry shampoo, deodorant, or a baby bottom refresher, but the main ingredient, Talc, is found in many cosmetic products. In Talc’s natural form, there is a chance it contains asbestos, a known carcinogen linked to lung cancer and rare cancer called mesothelioma when inhaled. Next time you’re picking up a bottle of baby powder, look for the words “Talcum free!”
2. Scented candles/air fresheners
This time of year, there’s nothing better than filling the house with the sweet aroma of pumpkin spice and peppermint candy cane, but think twice before dusting off the seasonal candles. Not only do burning candles release carcinogenic chemicals into the air, but there are studies stating chemicals can be absorbed by the body just by touching the candles. Fear not, candle lovers. Paraffin, a sludge waste from the petroleum industry, is the major ingredient in most candles but buying paraffin free candles means a cleaner burn!
3. Hot dogs
Yup, no surprise here. Most people accept the fact they don’t want to know what goes into a hot dog, but it’s more than just the rumored mystery meat. Highly processed hot dogs contain preservatives called nitrites, which when combined with amines naturally present in meat, form carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds. At your next barbecue, skip the hot dog line and add a veggie burger to your plate.
4. Laundry detergent
A lot of well-known detergents are also some of the most toxic. They might be the best at getting out those stubborn ink stains, but it comes at a price. The use of 1,4-dioxane (found in paints and varnishes) in some brands may trick you into thinking your laundry is clean, but that “fresh laundry” smell is just a bunch of chemicals sitting on your clothes waiting to be absorbed into your skin. Detergents with plant-based ingredients are not only safer for the whole family, but also a lot more eco-friendly!
5. Whole Milk
Didn’t our mothers make us finish our glass of milk before we could even leave the dinner table? Unless you’re getting milk from the neighbor’s grass-fed cow down the road, chances are the gallon of whole milk sitting in your fridge contains a handful of carcinogens and growth hormones like bGH (some studies show a possible link to breast cancer.) Try organic almond or coconut milk next time you’re pouring yourself a bowl of cereal!
Dr. Rigobert Kefferputz discussed foods with important immune-enhancing properties. Watch the CTV video here.
BC Naturopathic Association
2238 Pine Street
Vancouver, BC, V6J 5G4
Phone Toll-Free 1-800-277-1128