Self-regulation belongs to all of us

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta Medical Matters Leave a Comment

Welcome to, Medical Matters, a new column from CPSA Registrar, Dr. Scott McLeod. Medical Matters will look at the successes and challenges of the health system and how the medical profession can and should explore opportunities for improvement and innovation. Your feedback is always welcome and encouraged.


As physicians, we are incredibly privileged to have the trust of the public and government to self-regulate our profession. However, I have the sense that many physicians see self-regulation as solely the responsibility of the College Registrar and staff in Edmonton.

In reality, the CPSA is not just the 120 people working in Edmonton, nor the Council that represents the members and the public – it is all 10,500 physicians registered in Alberta, and each of us has an important role in self-regulating our profession.

That means every physician is responsible and accountable for appropriate professional behaviour, and striving to provide excellent care and support to our patients. It also means we are all responsible for supporting and encouraging our colleagues to do the same thing.

In last month’s Messenger, I wrote about the value of high-functioning teams. As I noted then, every member of a team can influence the performance of the whole. That influence can be either positive or negative; if we want to perform well, we need everyone on the team to have a positive influence.

Fundamentally, I believe people want to do a good job and provide excellent health care. What we see in 2017 is that practising medicine is not easy and it’s not getting easier. At the most recent CMA General Council, it was pointed out that over 50% of physicians show signs of burnout. Over the past few years, we also have seen the number of complaints registered against Alberta physicians increasing. These are obviously concerning trends that we must find ways to change.

No one else can fix these problems for us. We must come together – all 10,500 members of the CPSA – as a high-functioning team, and address these issues by engaging in all aspects of health care.

One way to start building our strength as a team is for the College to share information that empowers physicians to improve the care they provide on a daily basis. In addition to the MD Snapshot “Prescribing Practices” that you have already received, you will also see a new MD Snapshot this fall, filled with relevant data and information to help you self-reflect and better understand your practice. This will be referred to as the “2017 Practice Check-Up Report”.

MD Snapshot is your tool to positively influence not only your own practice, but also the overall performance of the medical profession in Alberta.

I encourage you to read it carefully and put it to work in your practice. Together we will build a high-functioning team that will achieve excellence in patient care.

Dr. Scott McLeod, MD, MPH, MPA, CCFP, FCFP