Canadians to political leaders: What will you do for seniors care?

OTTAWA, Sept. 10, 2015 /CNW/ - Canadians cannot afford political dithering while they are left to face tough questions like "can I afford to take my prescription medication" and "will I receive the care I need," Dr. Chris Simpson, Past President of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) said today.

"The demographic shift has just barely begun and already today we're barely able to meet the health care needs of our aging population – we need political leadership to ensure that Canadians receive the care they deserve,'' Dr. Simpson said.

A recent report by the Conference Board of Canada highlights the shortages across the health care system. The report states that 461,000 Canadians were not getting the home care they thought they needed, wait times for a bed in a long-term care facility ranged from 27 to over 230 days, and as few as 16% of Canadian requiring palliative care actually received it. 

Speaking as part of a panel of health experts to an Ottawa audience this morning, Dr. Simpson challenged federal political leaders to respond to the over 24,000 Canadians who have joined, CMA's call for a national seniors strategy.

"In order to guarantee the good health of our population, we need to start spending smarter. That's why a national plan for our seniors is more important than ever before in order to protect and sustain our health care system," said Dr. Simpson.

"A critical issue that must be included in party platforms is a demographic-based top-up to the federal health transfer. Provinces need this top-up to meet the health care needs of their aging populations. A commitment to this funding will be a clear signal that a political leader understands the gravity of the situation and is committed to health care as a federal partner," he added.

Echoing the importance of acting now to address this issue, the Parliamentary Budget Officer warned in the latest Fiscal Sustainability Report that the provinces and territories "cannot meet the challenges of population ageing under current policy."

"I have an answer for you: we need a national seniors strategy," said Dr. Simpson. "Canadians want to hear from our political leaders what they plan to do to ensure that seniors and their families receive the care they need, and to ensure the sustainability of our cherished health care system."

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. The CMA will be the leader in engaging and serving physicians and be the national voice for the highest standards for health and health care.

SOURCE Canadian Medical Association

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