Canada's nurses applaud new CMA head

    SASKATOON, Aug. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA)
welcomes the appointment of Anne Doig as president of the Canadian Medical
Association and applauds her call for action on introducing change to Canada's
health-care system.
    The recent economic downturn has exposed cracks in the health-care system
that need to be addressed without delay. CNA Chief Executive Officer Rachel
Bard states, "A CMA survey this week reveals that 14 per cent of Canadians had
delayed or stopped buying their prescription medications because money was too
tight. This undermines the principle of accessibility in our health-care
system. What good is a free diagnosis when you can't afford the treatment?"
    While CNA supports certain elements of the CMA's Health Care
Transformation agenda, such as the urgent need for a national program of
universal drug coverage, electronic health records and an increase in
long-term care beds, the organization urges extreme caution on initiatives
that might open the door to increased private health care.
    "Increased private health care will leech financial and human resources
away from the universal, publicly funded single-payer system that Canadians
hold dear. Improving the system from within is a better approach than offering
parallel private options," says Bard.
    More can be done, for example, to introduce collaborative, team-based
care across the spectrum of health-care delivery. Registered nurses have an
important role to play in making the system more effective and efficient.
Helping patients navigate smoothly through a complex health-care system and
coordinating treatment with a number of service providers would help reduce
complications and duplication of services.
    The CMA has started moving in this direction. Members voted on Tuesday to
work to maximize the added value that physicians bring to patient care by
reducing physician involvement in services that can be more appropriately
delegated to other members of the health-care team. CNA looks forward to
working in collaboration with the CMA on this initiative.

    CNA is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada. It
is a federation of 11 provincial and territorial nursing associations and
colleges representing over 135,000 registered nurses. CNA believes that the
sustainability of a quality, publicly funded, not-for-profit health system
rests upon a vibrant nursing workforce.

For further information:

For further information: Paul Watson, Communications Coordinator,
Canadian Nurses Association, (613) 237-2159 x283, (613) 697-7507 mobile,

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