Federal Budget Implies Status Quo For Health Care

    Canadian Physiotherapy Association Advocates More Funding Toward Access

    OTTAWA, March 19 /CNW/ - Today's Federal budget delivers a little
something for many and not a lot for health.
    "A number of funded initiatives will lead to better health for Canadians
both now and in the future," says Karen Hurtubise, President of the Canadian
Physiotherapy Association (CPA). "These include environmental initiatives
related to clean air and water, the Child Tax Credit for Fitness and several
welcome disability programs. However, CPA advocates additional funding to
improve the health of Canadians."
    Just last week, the Canadian Respiratory Journal reported that one in 80
Canadians living with chronic lung disease has access to the rehabilitation
services required to maximize their quality of life. "When less than two per
cent of a patient population is getting appropriate health services including
physiotherapy, there must be an underlying problem," says Pamela Fralick,
Canadian Physiotherapy Association CEO. "Every Canadian has the right to
direct access to his or her physiotherapist. This budget offers little of
substance to improve access to physiotherapy."
    The budget speech highlighted wait times initiatives. "While sustaining
funds may be appropriate to improve timely access for selected patient
groups," says Fralick, "wait times initiatives are flawed in that they take a
narrow view of the health needs of Canadians and, importantly, speed access to
only a few primary care providers."
    Canada is in the midst of significant health professional workforce
shortages. "The health professions are in urgent need of funding for
interprofessional collaboration," says Fralick. "Progress on a pan-Canadian
health human resource plan is also urgently required." HHR planning is founded
on a coordinated framework that is evidence-based and interprofessional,
reflective of the evolving health delivery system and jurisdictional
diversities, and driven by present and future population health needs. "By
attending to primary care initiatives and HHR planning," explains Fralick,
"all levels of government can ensure that Canadians have access to necessary
health services."
    "Today's budget implies Canadians can expect merely the status quo as far
as access to health care is concerned," concludes Fralick. "This is
disappointing given the size of the surplus."
    Physiotherapy is a primary care profession that promotes wellness,
mobility and independent function. Physiotherapists have advanced
understanding of how the body moves, what keeps it from moving well and how to
restore mobility. Every Canadian has the right to direct access to his or her

    The Canadian Physiotherapy Association is the national voluntary
organization representing 9,600 members across the country. CPA's mission is
to provide leadership and direction to the physiotherapy profession, foster
excellence in practice, education and research and promote high standards of
health in Canada. Additional information can be found at www.physiotherapy.ca.

For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Natalie Bovair, Director,
Communications, (416) 932-1888 (223), nbovair@physiotherapy.ca

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Canadian Physiotherapy Association

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