Canada's Doctors, Nurses, and Pharmacists Call for "Healthy" Debate

OTTAWA, April 11 /CNW/ - The leaders of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) and the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) today joined forces to urge party leaders to focus on health care during the upcoming leaders' debates so that Canadians can finally see in detail how their political parties plan to transform our health-care system for the future.

The CMA, CNA and CPhA welcome the recent attention that health care has received during the election campaign, since poll after poll has indicated that health care is by far the top issue of concern for Canadians. That attention must now be followed up with a debate on comprehensive plans and strategies to reform the health-care system.

"Our three organizations want to see the debate swing back to the importance of federal leadership in health care. We, and Canadians, will be assessing during this week's debates whether parties are truly committed to talking about the challenges facing our health-care system.  In addition, our patients express their fears and frustrations to us every single day. We're now enlisting patients' help in pressing the political parties to explain how politicians propose to improve the system," said Ruth Ackerman, president of the Canadian Pharmacists Association.

Dr. Judith Shamian, president of the Canadian Nurses Association, added: "Canadians deserve timely access to quality health care, no matter where they live. As professionals, we are doing our best to change things from within - but our federal leadership needs to work with us to provide the tools we need to build a better publicly funded health system. Politicians and their leaders have the responsibility to work with us to solve the many challenges Canadians face within the health-care system in all aspects of health care, including home care, primary care, hospitals and others."

The issue of health care is of particular concern as the party that forms Canada's next federal government will likely be responsible for negotiating the renewal of the 10-year health-care accord, which is set to expire in 2014. The CMA, CNA and CPhA believe that the voice of Canadians is critical to that discussion on the future of the health-care system.

"Patients must play a pivotal role in transforming our health-care system so that it meets the needs of future generations," said Dr. Jeff Turnbull, the CMA president. "To achieve this, decision-makers could build on such ideas as the CMA's Charter for Patient-Centred Care to include expectations, responsibilities and resolution mechanisms- such as a health-care ombudsman - so that patient needs and concerns are addressed in a meaningful way."

The CMA, CNA and CPhA call on Canadians to make their voices heard on health care during this election campaign.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians.  Founded in 1867, CMA's mission is to serve and unite the physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and health care. The CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing over 74,000 of Canada's physicians and uniting at the national level the voices of 12 provincial and territorial medical associations.

The Canadian Nurses Association is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada. A federation of 11 provincial and territorial nursing associations and colleges representing 143,843 registered nurses, CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada's publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.

The Canadian Pharmacists Association was founded in 1907 and is the national professional voluntary association providing leadership to pharmacists in all areas of practice.  Our members are active in community and hospital pharmacies, in long-term care facilities, home care, academia and industry.

SOURCE CANADIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

For further information:

Lisa Brazeau 
Canadian Nurses Association
lbrazeau@cna-aiic.ca
Tel: 800-361-8404 / 613-237-2133 ext. 252
Cell: 613-864-1371

Steve Wharry 
Canadian Medical Association
steve.wharry@cma.ca
Tel: 800-663-7336 / 613-731-8610 ext. 2135
Cell: 613-298-4669

Jeff Morrison 
Canadian Pharmacists Association
jmorrison@pharmacists.ca
Tel: 613-523-7877 ext. 386
Cell : 613-291-9377

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CANADIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

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