Canada's political leaders must come together to address seniors care, CMA says

OTTAWA, Dec. 8, 2014 /CNW/ - The federal government should call a first ministers' conference to come together on a strategy that will address the health care needs of Canada's rapidly-aging population, Dr. Cindy Forbes, President-elect of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), said today.

"Ensuring our nation's seniors can get the care they need when and where they need it is the paramount health care issue of our time," Dr. Forbes said. "Currently, we spend almost half of all our health care dollars on seniors yet many are not getting the health care they need when and where they need it."

Dr. Forbes made the comments at the opening of hearings in Ottawa of the federal Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation. The CMA submitted a five-point plan to the Panel spelling out how development of a national senior strategy would create a high-performing health care system that is able to respond to the changing nature of our population's health care needs.

Improving seniors care will go a long way to fixing our health care system because strategies to address the needs of this population can be leveraged to address the needs of other population groups, Dr. Forbes said.

"The federal government must play a leadership role in ensuring appropriate care for seniors and supporting health care innovation in concert with the provinces and territories and as a system manager itself for patients falling under federal jurisdiction," Dr. Forbes added.

"This can begin with a first ministers' conference as part of the development of a national seniors strategy."

Among other things, a CMA brief to the panel recommends the establishment of a National Health System Innovation Fund to support provinces and territories in the adoption of health system innovations. 

The brief also urges the federal government to require all cabinet decisions to factor in consequences on the health of Canadians.

"Just as we have learned to factor in environmental consequences into our policy process, we should do the same with health whereby all policies, from tax to transportation to trade, would be viewed through a health lens," Dr. Forbes said.

The Canadian Medical Association is the national voice of Canadian physicians. Founded in 1867, the CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing more than 80,000 of Canada's physicians and comprising 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and 60 national medical organizations. CMA's mission is helping physicians care for patients. The CMA will be the leader in engaging and serving physicians and the national voice for the highest standards for health and health care. 


SOURCE: Canadian Medical Association

For further information: Lucie Boileau, Senior Advisor, Communications and Public Outreach, Email: lucie.boileau@cma.ca, Tel: 613-731-8610 ext. 1266, Cell: 613-447-0866

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