OTTAWA, April 28, 2015 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says the Government of Canada must act on the recommendations in a report today by the Auditor General of Canada and work with First Nations to improve access to health services in remote First Nation communities.
"The findings of this report confirm what we have been saying for a number of years – health care services provided to First Nations people is totally inadequate," said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. "Too many of our people are dealing with under-funded and inadequate health services. We need to work now to start closing the gap in the quality of life between First Nations and other Canadians. This is about the health and safety of our children and families. The recommendations in today's report set out some practical steps for Health Canada and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and they must work with First Nations to improve access to health care."
As part of its Spring 2015 Reports, the Office of the Auditor General this morning released a report on Access to Health Care for Remote First Nation Communities. The research, findings and 11 recommendations are focused the areas of nursing stations, medical transportation benefits, support allocation and comparable access and coordination of health services among jurisdictions. The findings show an historical allocation of resources rather than an approach based on the needs of the community, as well as significant deficiencies in training, facilities, administration and documentation of services. The assessments were done in remote First Nation communities in Ontario and Manitoba looked specifically at access to health care, not quality nor adequacy of resources.
"While limited in its scope, the problems and challenges identified in this report are profound and with a subsequent examination of the quality and resourcing of health services would identify further areas for investment and improvement," said AFN Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy who chairs the national Chiefs Committee on Health. "There is an existing protocol between AFN and Health Canada's First Nation and Inuit Health Branch that provide opportunity for follow up on the report's recommendations and we will be looking to actively engage in the development and implementation of an action plan."
The full report and recommendations is available here: http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_201504_04_e_40350.html
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations
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