TORONTO, July 5 /CNW/ - The Health Council of Canada applauds the
British Columbia Ministry of Health Services and the B.C. Medical
Association on their June 24, 2010 announcement of $137 million toward
integrated primary and community care that will connect every resident
with a family doctor by 2015, starting with the province's most
vulnerable citizens - high needs patients, frail seniors and patients
with chronic diseases.
Reporting nationally, the Health Council has made the case based on
research evidence and frontline experience, for many of the types of
reform B.C. will put into action. In Beyond
the Basics (2010), the Health Council shows that for
Canadians with chronic conditions - one of the priority patient groups
for B.C. - having a regular doctor does not guarantee the safest or most
supportive medical care. Rather, doctors need also to provide the basic
elements of good primary care, two of which are knowing their patient's
history and helping to co-ordinate other aspects of patients' care.
"Co-ordination is key, and this is where collaborative health care teams
also have a critical role to play," said John G. Abbott, CEO of the
Health Council of Canada. Like the proposed B.C. initiative, the Health
Council's report, Teams
in Action (2009), finds clear advantages in the shift to
team-based care, suggesting this should be the standard of care in
particular for the growing number of Canadians with chronic conditions.
Patients Help Themselves (2010), some obvious gaps to be
filled in order to better manage complex chronic care patients include
asking patients about their goals for their own care and referring them
to community services that might help them reach those goals. B.C. is
ready to close such gaps through enhanced care planning. "The B.C.
announcement talks about 'an individualized and co-ordinated personal
medical health-care plan linking together various health professionals
to provide better quality care," said John G. Abbott. "These are the
types of approaches that our work supports," he added.
In a recent day-long discussion on primary health care reform hosted by
the Health Council through the McMaster
Health Forum, participants called for four things: re-affirming
primary health care as the foundation of Canada's health system;
ensuring appropriate management structures are in place between health
ministries and primary health care providers; linking funding agreements
with physicians and others to public policy goals for primary health
care; and, finally, paying attention to change management so that
physicians and primary health care teams are supported in their efforts
to strengthen primary health care across Canada. On this last point, it
is not expected that family doctors will work harder or longer to care
for the yet unassigned 250,000+ British Columbians, but rather that they
will take advantage of supports to help increase capacity within their
practices. Some such innovations may be group consultations for patients
with chronic conditions and the broader use of nurse practitioners.
"B.C. is paying attention to all of the necessary elements in their
drive to strengthen primary health care and help ensure the system
delivers even better quality in future years," said John G. Abbott. "The
Health Council will watch and learn from B.C.'s leadership, as I am
certain many government health care decision-makers will, not only in
Canada, but internationally."
The Health Council of Canada, created by the 2003 First
Ministers' Accord on Health Care Renewal, reports on the progress of
health care renewal in Canada and highlights best practices nation-wide.
Councillors are appointed by the participating provinces, territories
and the Government of Canada. To download reports and other Health
Council materials, visit href="http://www.healthcouncilcanada.ca/">www.healthcouncilcanada.ca.
In a June 30, 2010 Globe
and Mail update, Second Opinion: We need more primary care, not
more physicians, André Picard sees value in the opportunity for B.C.
and all of Canada to better provide preventive health care through
multidisciplinary, team-based care particularly to patients with chronic
illnesses. He concludes in support of the B.C. announcement to expand
the provision of primary care, "What every Canadian needs is timely
access to a primary care provider; what each of us needs is a care
co-ordinator, both when we are well and when we are sick…..That
primary-care provider does not have to be a doctor. It can be a
nurse-practitioner. And the care co-ordinator need not be a doctor: It
can be a nurse, a dietician, or a physiotherapist, depending on a
SOURCE Health Council of Canada
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