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Advocacy and Representation
March 6th, 2011
The CAGS Board revalidated the Advocacy mission:  “CAGS will effectively advocate all issues relating to the specialty of General Surgery across Canada”.  Board Members agreed that the need for advocacy in General Surgery remains high. 
With respect to training of Residents to adequately equip them to go out into the community as well as resources available to them (OR and endoscopy time), there is a need for attention to the national issue of endoscopic privileging, competence and maintenance of competence. To read the CAGS letter of endorsement to the American's Board of Surgery's Statement on Endoscopy click here
To read the CAGS letter to the Royal College about Canadian Endoscopic training competency click here
Short term goals
1) See Provincial Representative Minutes, March 5 2011
2) Wikisurgery "second opinion" blog within political advocacy component of website
3) Retrieve data from each province re endoscopy utilization and breakdown.  Begin promoting guidelines and keeping track of personal endoscopy data for proof of ongoing competency.  Explore joint guidelines for endoscopy with CAGS or CSCRS.
4) Dr. Angus MacIver was assigned to look into GI "success" in Ontario and to work with OAGS for the data.
Long term goals
1) Public Relations - consider outside help and hire a consultant to get the message out.  CAGS can put out more policy statements and respond immediately via media releases.
2) Need for a self-standing course on therapeutic endoscopy at CSF run by surgeons
3) CAGS can work toward a national standard of a guarantee of two days combined OR and endoscopy per week for general surgeons. Availability of endoscopy time is a major recruitment tool for new grads to rural communities with smaller surgical groups. Need for protection of endoscopy privileges for surgeons and future development of our profile as the "experts" on
4) Human Resources and Quality and the theme of community surgeons feeling under-represented may belong under access to care and physical resources.  The Advocacy Group thought this perception should be addressed by some community surgeon members and possibly bring to the CMA.
February, 2011
Specialist Forum Summary
CAGS has formal representation to the CMA through the CMA Specialists Forum. The Forum is comprised of a variety of national specialty and special-interest physician organizations affiliated and associated with the CMA. The relationships between the CMA and the affiliates/associates respect each organization's autonomy while recognizing the goal of speaking with a common voice and achieving coordinated impact on issues which affect all physicians, regardless of specialty or special interest.

Through affiliation, association and membership on the Specialist Forum, organizations have opportunities to represent their members' interests within the CMA and contribute to the development of physician advocacy and health advocacy policies at the national level.
During the February meeting in Ottawa, attended by both Susan Reid and Jasmin Lidington, the CMA Specialist Forum heard Dr. Jeff Turnball president of the CMA discuss Health Care Transformation.  As a result, CAGS was able to secure a meeting with the President Elect of the CMA, Dr. John Haggie, who attended our CAGS midterm Board meeting.  Please see the details in the CAGS Healthcare Transformation Consultation Summary.  In addition, there was an update on the changes to the Royal College Maintenance of Certification Program, a presentation on Distributed Medical Education, and Clinical Practice Guidelines.  The 2011 National Physician survey results are pending this spring and will hopefully shed some light on the Physician workload issues that are surfacing for surgeons.  The full minutes of the Specialist Forum are available for you to read here 

As an affiliate member of the CMA, CAGS also participates in the CMA Specialist Forum twice per year.  Through this affiliation, CAGS interacts with over 50 other Specialist organizations with the goal representing our membership’s interests to the CMA, and working all members of the Forum to present a common Specialists voice to impact issues that affect all specialists.  In addition, the Specialist Forum has successfully met with the GP Forum to discuss common issues.  The last two GP/SP Forums focused on the Referral Process.  We have brought this process now to CAGS and our Provincial Affairs Committee has discussed how General Surgeons can improve the referral process jointly with our GP colleagues.  This committee is now working on a package for General Surgeons that will include a statement on Communication and templates for communications with GP’s around referral issues. Once completed, these will be posted on the CAGS Website.  Any members who have suggestions or comments are welcome to email Susan Reid or Ray Dykstra,
Progress since February 2008
  • Individuals identified from CAGS Board to respond to media inquiries
  • Launch of redesigned and user-friendly newsletter "General Surgery Matters"
  • Political Action Committee meeting held July 2nd - decision to focus on provincial representation and issues
  • Further discussion with CNMO - new Specialist Forum created through CMA
  • Ongoing discussions and planning with CMA to join the Wait Times Alliance
  • New user-friendly website launch August 29th
  • September 10th Meeting to take place with all Provincial Representatives 
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