Canadians to Governments: Health Care Must Be the Priority

OTTAWA, Jan. 25 /CNW/ - According to a new public opinion poll done for the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), Canadians overwhelmingly believe that health care should be the main priority for federal and provincial governments and that patient needs must guide health care budgets and not the other way around.

Last month the CMA launched a national dialogue on health care transformation to gather the voices of Canadians. Since then over 1,000 comments from Canadians have been submitted to the national dialogue website. The second phase of the CMA's dialogue will kick off tomorrow in Halifax where the first in a series of public town hall meetings on health care transformation will take place. Both the online consultation and town hall events are designed to give Canadians the opportunity to add their voices regarding the future of the health care system.

"For too long the voices of Canadian patients and their families have gone unheard in discussions on the future of health care," said Dr. Jeff Turnbull, President of the CMA. "The health care system belongs to Canadians and it is time to put patients first."

The Ipsos Reid opinion poll cited the fact that the current health accord is set to expire in 2014, a fact which led most Canadians (88%) to say the federal government should initiate discussions with provinces and the territories on a new accord now. Further, nearly seven in ten (69%) said that progress toward a new deal on health care should not be delayed on account of the federal government's focus on the economy.

The poll also found that a strong majority (86%) of Canadians said that patient needs should guide what health care services are available, rather than having services provided based solely on budgets predetermined by governments.

"It is possible to make both the economy and health care priorities for governments as a healthy health care system and a healthy population drive a healthy economy," added Dr. Turnbull.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians.  Founded in 1867, CMA's mission is to serve and unite the physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and health care. The CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing over 74,000 of Canada's physicians and comprising 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and 51 national medical organizations.


For further information:

Lucie Boileau, Manager, Media Relations
Tel. :
Cell. :
        1 800 663-7336 / 613 731-8610 ext. 1266
 613 447-0866

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