Canada's doctors call for federal government action on isotopes

    SASKATOON, Aug. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's physicians are deeply troubled
about the prolonged and unpredictable shortage of medical isotopes and impact
the crisis continues to have on patient care.
    Physician-delegates from across the country attending the annual meeting
of CMA General Council voted overwhelmingly that the federal government should
conduct open, meaningful and ongoing consultations with the nuclear medicine
profession on any and all federal decisions directly affecting the supply of
medical isotopes.
    "For Canada's physicians and patients, the shutdown of the NRU reactor at
Chalk River and the resulting prolonged shortage of medical isotopes, is a
serious medical issue that directly affects the health of Canadians and the
sustainability of the health care system," said CMA President Dr. Robert
    Delegates to CMA's annual meeting in Saskatoon passed 5 motions related
to medical isotopes. The motions:

    -   expressed appreciation and admiration to health care providers across
        the country for their dedicated efforts to meet patient needs;
    -   called for an independent panel to look into the federal government's
        decisions to abandon the Maple I and II reactors;
    -   demanded that physicians be at the table when decisions on the secure
        supply of medical isotopes are made;
    -   called for an emergency action plan to assist in covering the
        increasing costs for isotopes, and;
    -   called for greater investments in research and new technology
        including positron emissions technology (PET).

    "Recent decisions on the production of medical isotopes made by the
federal government have been based on financial considerations and have not
fully considered the impact on care," added Dr. Ouellet. "It is critical that
physician experts and their associations are at the table when these decisions
are being made."

For further information:

For further information: Lucie Boileau, Manager, Media Relations, (613)
731-8610 or 1-800-663-7336 ext. 1266, Mobile: (613) 447-0866

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