Canadian Medical Association Launches Major Campaign for More Doctors



    TORONTO, Jan. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadian Medical Association (CMA)
President Dr. Brian Day announced today in a speech on the costs of wait
times, that his organization, representing 67,500 doctors nationwide, was
launching a major campaign to put the growing physician shortage on the
federal political agenda.
    "The shortage of health care professionals affects wait times and hurts
patients," said Day. "There are simply not enough of us to keep providing the
quality health care that Canadians expect and deserve. Politicians must act
soon because the situation will just get worse."

    
    The facts and figures on current state of the physician shortage paint a
grim picture:

    - Almost 5-million Canadians do not have a family physician and 5-million
      more could be in the same situation by 2018;

    - Canada would need 26,000 more doctors to meet the OECD (Organisation
      for Economic Co-operation and Development) average of physicians per
      population;

    - The average doctor today is working more hours than she or he did
      20 years ago; and

    - The average age of a physician in Canada is close to 50.
    

    "These numbers won't come as a surprise to the thousands of Canadians on
waiting lists," said Day. "But they should be setting off alarm bells on
Parliament Hill."
    In launching the campaign today during a speech to the Economic Club of
Toronto, Dr. Day also unveiled new research on the cost of waiting for care in
Canada. The dramatic data show that the costs associated with patients waiting
for care in four of the five "priority" areas identified by governments in the
2004 10-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care topped $14.8 billion in 2007. The
report also reveals that excess waits for care reduced economic activity and
lowered the revenues of federal and provincial governments by a combined
$4.4 billion in 2007.
    "The deterioration that patients experience while they wait is a curse,"
stated Dr. Day. "Not only on the patients who must wait in pain but also for
the economy of the entire country." The full report - The economic cost of
wait times in Canada - is available at:
http://www.cma.ca/index.cfm/ci_id/45087/la_id/1.htm.
    The CMA's "More Doctors. More Care." Campaign will include national
advertising, advocacy, online ads, a postcard-writing blitz and events aimed
directly at Parliament Hill. Canadians, physicians and patients will be
encouraged to contact their MPs by visiting moredoctors.ca.
    "Federal politicians seem to think that health care is no longer an
important issue for Canadian voters," concluded Day. "They need to think
again. In the last election, politicians promised to put an end to wait times.
That promise will never be kept if the shortage of physicians isn't dealt with
because more doctors mean more care."




For further information:

For further information: Lucie Boileau, Media Relations Manager, (800)
663-7336, (613) 731-8610 ext. 1266


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