Volume 12 | No. 1 | Jan / Feb 2024 query_builder 3 minutes

Registrar’s message: reflections on a new role and priorities for the future

Patrick Rowe


I have been in my new role as the College’s registrar and CEO for just a few months, and I am grateful to have received a warm welcome, both from within the College and from our health-care partners.

As an emergency room physician for many years, I am first and foremost a clinician. I am bringing that perspective to this role, which includes both a deep appreciation for the needs of patients in our province, and a genuine understanding of the complex challenges that registrants face trying to meet those needs.

The College plays an important role in health care, directly by regulating physicians and surgeons, but also through participation in conversations about health-care delivery in the province. My priorities in this role are to continue the positive work that the College is doing in a number of key areas.

The College has made progress in the last couple of years to address the Indigenous-specific racism that exists in our health-care system, including introducing the Indigenous Cultural Safety, Cultural Humility and Anti-racism practice standard in 2022 and completing the complaints process review in 2023. I believe it is critical to continue building on this work, with guidance from Indigenous communities and provincial leadership. We know that we need to develop a deep understanding of the barriers that Indigenous people face when accessing the services of the College, and to take action to break down those barriers. We also know that we need to bring Indigenous voices into leadership positions and committee positions at the College.

I recognize and share the concerns many British Columbians have about the physician shortage in many of our communities. This is a complex issue that the College will continue to play a role in, along with the provincial government and other BC health-care organizations. We are committed to ensuring that we are not a barrier to health human resourcing. We are also committed to supporting team-based care as a way to increase the health human resources that are available to patients, which requires strong collaboration between the College and other BC health regulators.

Over the coming year, the College and the other BC health regulatory colleges will transition to the Health Professions and Occupations Act (the HPOA). Under the new legislation, many of the core regulatory processes will remain—physicians and surgeons will still need to be licensed and will still be required to participate in quality assurance and quality improvement activities. The public will still have an opportunity to bring concerns to the College and we will still investigate and adjudicate complaints. However, there are notable positive changes. It will become a legislated requirement to participate in anti-discriminatory behaviour and also to identify and act on discrimination when it occurs. There will also be oversight by an external Office of the Superintendent of Health Profession and Occupations which provides an opportunity for the College to receive feedback, and to use that feedback to make process improvements.

I recently had the opportunity to discuss all of these topics and more in the first episode of Connecting the Dots, a new podcast series from the College that aims to help physicians and surgeons connect our regulatory work to the issues impacting our broader health-care system. 

You can listen to the first episode of Connecting the Dots below.

Patrick Rowe, MD, CCFP (EM), FCFP
Registrar and CEO

Comments on this or any other article published in the College Connector can be submitted to the communications and public affairs department at communications@cpsbc.ca.