CMA loses the public trust as it betrays Canadian values: Nurses call on doctors to defend Medicare

    TORONTO, Aug. 22 /CNW/ - As Dr. Brian Day begins his official duties as
president of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), Canada's doctors should
remind him to use the evidence, the ingenuity and the capacity that already
exists within our publicly funded health-care system to deliver effective and
efficient care.
    Dr. Day made his vision clear in his inaugural speech to members of the
CMA at their annual convention in Vancouver on Wednesday. Among his ideas:
introducing private insurance, introducing a market model for hospital
funding, and gutting the Canada Health Act. "Dr. Day's vision is a health-care
system that favours for-profit interests and two-tier health care and it will
lead to the destruction of Medicare," says Mary Ferguson-Paré, president of
the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO).
    RNAO says these ideas fly in the face of overwhelming evidence. For
example, the British Medical Association has criticized the UK scheme that
introduced market model funding for hospitals. Doctors found this system led
to increased administrative costs and put services that were unprofitable,
such as children's services at risk of being cancelled.
    RNAO says another troubling recommendation spelled out Dr. Day and the
CMA is the introduction of private insurance. "The minute you introduce
private insurance into our system, you create two lines of patients. And the
results are obvious. Those in the first line pay for their care using their
Visa card while the majority who can not afford it wait in the second line.
This is two-tier pure and simple," says RNAO executive director Doris
    Ferguson-Paré says Dr. Day's suggestion that the Canada Health Act needs
be "modernized" and "revised" is smoke and mirrors because his approach would
likely violate a sacred principle of Tommy Douglas' Medicare system: that
health care is a human right for every Canadian.
    "Dr. Day, who owns a private hospital, likes to insist that he believes
in universal health care, but he has no credibility given his insistence on
two-tier solutions," adds Ferguson-Paré.
    "We call on individual doctors across the country to make it clear that
Dr. Day does not represent them. Further, we call on the federal and
provincial governments to reject, once again, Dr. Day and the CMA's ideas,"
says Grinspun. "We all know what havoc the private insurance system has
wreaked on the health-care system in the United States. Clearly, voters in
Canada do not want to go down this road. All along, we have said that the CMA
is taking the wrong path and is seriously compromising the public's trust of
doctors by betraying their values," adds Grinspun.

    The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional
association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in Ontario.
Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in
nursing practice, increased nurses' contribution to shaping the health-care
system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.

For further information:

For further information: Marion Zych, Director of Communications,
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario, Phone: (416) 599-1925,
1-800-268-7199 ext. 209, (647) 406-5605 (cellular phone)

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