Health Action Lobby (HEAL) dissatisfied with Federal budget

    OTTAWA, Feb. 28 /CNW/ - The Health Action Lobby (HEAL) responded to
Tuesday's Federal budget with disappointment. While HEAL acknowledges the
merit of new funding for a number of vulnerable populations, the coalition of
36 national health and consumer associations is concerned this second
consecutive budget that is silent on ways and means to protect and strengthen
Canada's health care system. HEAL warns that funding for coordinated health
human resource planning is needed urgently in order to secure the future
well-being and health of Canadians.
    HEAL strongly supports the funding announcement for seniors struggling on
fixed incomes. New budget targeting mental health and funding for the
Aboriginal community are also viewed by HEAL as good steps.
    However, the absence of new budgetary direction and funding for
coordinated health human resource (HHR) planning is short-sighted given the
access problems resulting from current and growing health care personnel
shortages. "The sustained and growing problem of health personnel shortages is
reaching crisis proportions in Canada," says Pamela Fralick, HEAL Chair.
"Recognizing that the responsibility for a pan-Canadian HHR plan sits at the
Federal level, HEAL once again reminds the Government that Canadians need a
stable and self-sufficient health system that can respond to their needs. In
other words, Canadians want access to the right health provider at the right
time in the right place."
    The blueprint for a pan-Canadian HHR strategy has already been produced
by Federal, Provincial and Territory Governments, in consultation with key
stakeholders. "We hope that the plan to stabilize and modernize the healthcare
workforce has not been shelved," adds Fralick. "It is essential that HHR
planning not be allowed to lie fallow, especially in the absence of any other
dedicated Federal health care funding that might assist other levels of
Government to strategically address urgent HHR planning priorities."
    Tuesday's budget suggests Federal investments in HHR planning and other
primary health care initiatives are not forthcoming. "This position is not
acceptable," concludes Fralick. "On behalf of all Canadians, HEAL's members
call upon the Harper Government to act toward future guarantees for patient
access to quality health services. Current wait time initiatives are not
    HEAL brings these urgent health provider issues to Government in order to
stimulate further debate and action on health for all Canadians.

    The Health Action Lobby (HEAL) is a coalition of 36 national health and
consumer associations and organizations dedicated to protecting and
strengthening Canada's health system. HEAL represents more than half a million
providers and consumers of health care in Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Natalie Bovair, (416) 932-1888,
ext. 223,

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Health Action Lobby

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