CMA Calls for Attitude Shift to Transform Health Care System

    TORONTO, Feb. 10 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadian Medical Association (CMA)
President Dr. Robert Ouellet is urging Canadians to set aside old attitudes
and instead seek transformative change within the health care system.
    "Making our health care system both sustainable and accessible for
patients requires that we make fundamental changes in how we think about
health care," said Dr. Ouellet in a speech to the Economic Club of Toronto
today. "We have tried to throw money at the problem, but money is not the only
    In recent months, Dr. Ouellet and a team of CMA researchers have visited
several European nations to meet with doctors, nurses, patient associations,
researchers, government and other officials to see what has worked within
their health care systems, and why it has worked.
    Preliminary findings and discussions show that these countries -- the
United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Denmark -- face many of
the same issues that Canada does: aging populations, difficulty providing
timely access to quality care, and increasing demand for services.
    Dr. Ouellet cited several key points that the CMA will be bringing to
Canadians for discussion, including:

    - the fact that European states use the private sector within their
      health care systems yet strictly adhere to the principle that no
      citizen will go without health care because of an inability to pay;
    - the fact that in the European systems studied there is no difference
      for patients between public and private systems because the interchange
      between the two is transparent, with patient need -- not ideology or
      cash -- determining how and where care is provided;
    - the fact that Europeans face short, or no, wait times, yet spend less
      money on health care than Canada;
    - the fact that, for these countries, there is a real solidarity against
      suffering and a commitment to ensure not only equal but also timely
      access to health care for everyone;
    - The fact that options such as funding hospitals based on activity
      rather than just block funding can dramatically improve efficiency
      within our system.

    "In Canada we focus on turning the funding tap on or off depending on our
economic situation instead of on improving efficiency and boosting
productivity within the system," added Dr. Ouellet. "Something has to suffer
in this scenario, and all too often it is the patient."
    In the coming weeks the CMA will begin a consultation with Canadians that
will include doctors, other health care professionals, patients, governments
and policymakers. The Association will use this input to formulate a plan -- a
"Made in Canada" solution -- to make transformative change in the health care
system possible.

    La version française de ce communiqué sera publiée sous peu.

For further information:

For further information: Lucie Boileau, 1-800-663-7336 x1266, (613)
731-8610 x1266, cell. (613) 447-0866

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