When we pass by a school or park and see children playing, it is very difficult to think of these healthy, happy little people as ever becoming ill. Unfortunately they do, which is why we have a Pediatric specialty. The word “paediatrics” literally means “healer of children”.
It really takes a special kind of person to enter the Pediatric specialty whose sole purpose is working with sick children. “I became a Pediatrician because of the reward of helping children – of helping their families – and of making children feel better,” says Dr Poynter, President of the BC Pediatric Society.
Pediatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the health and medical care of children from birth up to age 19. There are approximately 175 full-time equivalent Pediatricians in BC. However, most physicians practice in urban areas, leaving the rural communities stretched thin. That combined with an aging workforce and recruitment challenges, has the specialty as a whole facing manpower issues.
Although a lack of resources is a concern, Dr Poynter says the number one issue facing Pediatrics is “the introduction of new technology over the years”. Thanks to technological advances and better treatment options, children with complex chronic disorders are living longer than ever before. These advances have drastically changed the practice of Pediatrics and significantly influence transitioning to adult care.
In fact, several physician-led projects addressing transitioning from youth to adult health care are currently being funded by The Specialist Services Committee (SSC) through the Quality and Innovation Initiative.