Family doctors are expected to play an important role during an influenza pandemic, by Canada's physicians and the people. There appear to be no formal plans for the doctors when an epidemic breaks out, according to the College of Family Physicians. Public health emergency is sought to be made an election issue by the officials of the college.
The people will gain more confidence if the political parties in the country were to give more priority to health. Only 20% of the country's family doctors are equipped to deal with an epidemic, even though they have displayed the willingness to do all that is in their power if such an emergency were to arise.
They are also of the opinion that the required supports are not in place to help them in their duties. The family doctors of Canada were totally in the dark during the outbreak in 2003 with regard to the protective equipment to be worn by them, and also the transmissibility of the disease. This resulted in several doctors getting infected and one succumbing to the disease.
There is also a need for more family doctors to deal with such a pandemic. The basics have to be set right first to counter the disease, and spending more money alone will not be enough. There should also be sufficient health planning in the business sectors of the country to deal with such a situation. The doctors should be able to maintain their focus in the case of a pandemic.
Hotlines and websites can also be established by the college with the object of keeping family doctors well informed. Many of Canada's doctors do not have a computer. A forum on family medicine is being conducted at Vancouver to address the issue of the shortage faced by the country with regard to family physicians. More than 90% of the population have absolute faith in their family doctors, while 3.5 million Canadians do not have access to a family doctor.