What can the CUA do?


As physicians, we are called upon regularly to render opinions or make decisions on behalf of each of our patients. Securing additional operating room time to get a patient’s cancer dealt with promptly, filling out the insurance form to ensure the benefits to which a patient is entitled are paid out, or facilitating timely diagnostic testing are just a few examples of daily advocacy activities Canadian urologists undertake.

In the broadest sense, advocacy is defined as the action of supporting a cause or individual. Healthcare advocacy, while most commonly involving the support of an individual physician and his/her patient, can take on other, broader, more system-wide issues as well. In fact, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, in its CanMEDS framework, emphasized the importance of health advocacy not only for individual patients but also suggested “physicians contribute their expertise and influence as they work with communities or patient populations to improve health.”   

Tackling broader healthcare issues, such as resource allocation, population-wide health promotion, or future workforce planning have not typically been areas that the Canadian Urological Association (CUA) or its members have been actively involved. Should the CUA take a more proactive role in these discussions, there are basic principles we must follow:

  • Our professionalism is our strength. We must operate in a transparent and respectful fashion.
  • Use the best-available evidence when attempting to promote our perspective.
  • Work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals, regulatory bodies, and governments.
  • Always remember our overarching goal must be to enhance patient care.

As a collective, the CUA can speak on behalf of members across the country and raise awareness about patient care issues. As a national organization representing the majority of urologists practicing in Canada, the CUA can fulfill its goal to be the “Voice of urology in Canada,” by tackling issues related to advocacy. With the involvement of the CUA’s relevant subcommittees and affiliates, we have the human resource expertise to inform policymakers of the issues affecting patients in Canada with urological conditions now and in the future.

At present, patient wait times for urological consultation and surgery are variable across the country. The pandemic has had a significant impact on elective surgery in particular and has led to sub-optimal wait times. As we come out of the pandemic, there will be a need to ramp up services in a concerted fashion and the CUA can help to represent our patients in those discussions and operational decisions.

Looking further ahead, urology workforce planning needs input from various stakeholders. The Canadian population demographics foretell an increasing need for urological care as the population ages. As an organization involved in resident training and assessing the needs of community and academic urologists, the CUA should be an integral part of workforce decision-making.

These are just two examples of important healthcare issues facing Canadian urology and the patients we serve. Should CUA members identify other issues that might be worthy of the CUA’s advocacy efforts, please reach out to any member of the board of directors. We look forward to hearing from you!