OTTAWA, Nov. 25, 2014 /CNW/ - The federal government needs to respond quickly to an Auditor General's report that pinpoints defects in two important health programs for which it has direct responsibility, Dr. Chris Simpson, president of the Canadian Medical Association, said today.
Dr. Simpson was commenting on findings by Auditor General Michael Ferguson that two federal departments — Veterans Affairs and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development — aren't following up on performance to ensure they serve the people who need them.
Among other things, the AG found it takes 32 weeks to receive an eligibility decision on long-term mental health disability benefits.
As for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, inconsistencies were found in the Nutrition North program. Some foods like processed cheese spread qualified for subsidies while some healthier options did not. Further, standards as to which communities received subsidies seemed illogical. Having access to nutritious food is a key social determinant of health and ensuring all Canadians have access to such food is a key duty of our national government.
"Sadly, the lesson here is that due diligence and fundamentals of good management are just as important as money with federal programs," Dr. Simpson said. "The benefits of any program, however well intentioned, can only succeed if executed properly."
The AG found that Veterans Affairs process to deliver care to veterans was too onerous, too long and did not put the needs of patients and their families first. "We owe a lot to our veterans and in their time of need we must ensure that we can provide the timely support and services they need to get better," Dr. Simpson added.
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) 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.
SOURCE: Canadian Medical Association
For further information: Lucie Boileau, Senior Advisor Communications and Public Outreach, Canadian Medical Association, Email: [email protected], Tel: 613-731-8610 ext. 1266, Cell: 613-447-0866