The palliative care needs of Canadians are best met through the provision of palliative care across primary and specialist levels of care, which requires physicians with differing levels of expertise and training, as described in the national Framework on Palliative Care in Canada. All physicians should have core competencies and skills in palliative care, taught at the undergraduate and postgraduate education levels, to be able to provide a palliative approach to care for their patients. For the development of specialized expertise in palliative care, we now have two certification routes developed for palliative care consultants: a Certificate of Added Competence through the College of Family Physicians of Canada and a Subspecialty in Palliative Medicine through the Royal College. Both routes support the development of consultant level, specialist palliative care expertise.
Recognition of these providers at the provincial level is necessary in order for us to begin to assess, measure and plan for human resources, including residency positions, needed across Canada to improve teaching, mentoring, research, program development and access to palliative care.
The first cohort of subspecialty Palliative Medicine residents began their two-year training programs on July 1, 2017. Any trainees interested in pursuing subspecialty training in Palliative Medicine are encouraged to contact the program directors (PD) at their institution. A list of programs and PDs is on the Training Opportunities page of this web site.
A practice eligible route (PER) is also available for physicians who meet the eligibility requirements. Information about PER is on the Royal College web site. The Royal College has also announced the Practice Eligibility Route for the Subspecialty Examination Affiliate Program (PER-SEAP). PER-SEAP is a new route for internationally trained specialists who are practising in Canada in a subspecialty but are not Royal College certified in a primary specialty. Information about PER-SEAP.
Palliative Care was a featured topic at the Royal College’s National Specialty Societies’ Summit on December 12, 2016. CSPCP Board members Dr. Susan MacDonald and Dr. Stephanie Connidis spoke on the theme of “Palliative care – It’s everyone’s responsibility”. Three sub/specialists from other disciplines – Dr. David Carroll, Dr. Shalini Nayar, and Dr. Chandra Thomas – gave examples of how palliative care is relevant in a variety of sub/specialties. The presentations were very well received and a lively panel discussion followed. We are grateful to the Royal College for taking interest in the subject and for giving us the opportunity to showcase palliative care to other specialty societies.
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