Family doctors want term 'family medicine' protected legally
2019-07-09 from cbc.ca
Family physicians are concerned that terminology associated with their profession — such as "family medicine" — could be misused by people who are not medical doctors, according to the results of an informal internal poll by the College of Family Physicians of Canada.
The CFPC, which represents about 38,000 physicians who practise family medicine, solicited feedback from its members in April and received approximately 4,400 responses.
The poll found 92 per cent of respondents support legally protecting such terms, and 89 per cent want the college to put its time and resources into doing so.
The college was prompted to investigate how widely that sentiment was shared after its executives were presented with a petition by some members who were concerned that certain terminology was being misused by some complementary health practitioners, such as naturopaths or people who work for "virtual medicine" apps.
Naturopathy enjoys popularity among people who seek an alternative to conventional medical care, but its critics say it is not supported by evidence-based science. Naturopathy is a combination of practices that predate modern medicine, such as homeopathy, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, along with new treatments that are often not covered by provincial health plans, including intravenous vitamin therapy and nutrition counselling.
According to the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, naturopaths must complete a four-year, full-time program at an accredited institution. There are two such schools in Canada, both of which are private. The association says more than 2,400 naturopaths practise in Canada.
There are no consistent rules across the country about what naturopaths can call themselves.
In B.C., the naturopathic college stipulates they can only refer to themselves as a "doctor" or "physician" if the word is preceded with "naturopathic" each time. The rules in Ontario are less explicit. The profession is not regulated in Quebec or Atlantic Canada.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors has trademarked the slogan "Medically trained. Naturally focused," though it is now effectively illegal for a naturopath to say this in New Brunswick.
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