Editor, The Times:
This letter is in response to Ms. Linda Davidson’s comments (“College policy makes patients suffer” in Sept. 22 issue) regarding the College of Physicians and Surgeon’s new standard entitled Safe Prescribing of Drugs with Potential for Misuse/Diversion.
The situation described by Ms. Davidson regarding her husband is distressing and we regret that he has had such a challenging time trying to manage his pain.
It might be helpful for Ms. Davidson, her husband, and other patients to know that the College’s standard acknowledges the appropriate role of pharmacotherapy in the context of active cancer, palliative, nursing home and end-of-life care.
All of the principles contained in the standard were deliberately written in general terms, allowing flexibility so that physicians can use their own bedside clinical judgment, and determine the best course of action for their patient. Nothing in the standard prohibits or interferes with the ability of pain specialists or other physicians to safely and effectively care for their patients.
As the regulator, the College’s mandate is to investigate any report of physicians misapplying the standard to the detriment of patients. Patients who have concerns about the care they have received by physicians are encouraged to contact the College directly.
Heidi M. Oetter
MD Registrar and CEO
College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia