Politicians lack the vision and courage to address health care

    OTTAWA, Oct. 6 /CNW Telbec/ - A new poll done for the Canadian Medical
Association (CMA) shows Canadians believe politicians are avoiding health care
in this general election because they lack the vision and courage to tackle
the tough issues.
    "In this election, Canadians are looking for leadership on health and
they are clearly not seeing it," said CMA President, Dr. Robert Ouellet.
"Canadians believe our politicians are afraid to talk about what is really
needed to fix our health care system."
    The poll, conducted by Ipsos Reid for the CMA, shows that most Canadians
are critical of their country's leaders when it comes to addressing the
problems facing Canada's health care system. Seven in ten say that Canada's
leaders lack either the vision (41%) to fix such a complex issue or are afraid
(30%) to take on such a politically sensitive issue as health care.
    The poll also found that three in four Canadians (74%) say that federal
politicians are not spending enough time talking about the future of the
health care system in the current federal election. The same number also says
that political parties should have a comprehensive health care policy that
includes a plan to address the doctor shortage.
    The CMA is working to change that fact through the release today of a new
Voters' Guide to the Issues featuring responses on key health issues of four
of the five major parties running in the federal election. The Conservative
Party was the sole party that declined to send in a response.
    "It's important that Canadians know where the parties stand on health and
health care," said Dr. Ouellet. "Our Voters' Guide should help Canadians make
an informed decision."
    The poll also shows that Canadians continue to rank health care as one of
the most pressing issues requiring action by the next newly elected
government. The poll found a virtually equal number identifying the economy
(32%) and health care (31%) as the most critical issue. Taxes (13%), the
environment (12%), crime (9%) and international issues (5%) trail
    "Our politicians should listen to their constituents they want to
represent in Parliament," said Dr. Ouellet. "Canadians want them to start
talking about what they are going to do to improve health care and provide
timely access to quality health care."
    Within the broad area of the health care system, 65% of Canadians polled
said addressing the shortage of doctors should be a top priority (9 or 10 on a
scale of 0 to 10). This is followed by addressing the shortage of other health
care professionals (54%), improving the efficiency of the system (52%), the
overall quality of health care (48%), access to MRIs, X-rays and other
diagnostic equipment (45%), access to affordable prescription drugs (44%),
access to mental health care (30%), and finally the lack of an electronic
medical record (18%).
    "Canada's doctors have been saying for some time that we need more hands
on deck - more doctors, nurses and other health care professionals - working
in the system," added Dr. Ouellet.
    Ipsos Reid conducted an online survey of 1,026 adult Canadians from
Sept. 24 to 26, 2008. This sample provides a +/-3.1% margin of error for the
overall national findings 19 times out of 20.
    Full results of the poll and the Voters' Guide to the Issues can be found
at : http://www.cma.ca/index.cfm/ci_id/87393/la_id/1.htm

For further information:

For further information: Lucie Boileau, Media Relations Manager, (613)
731-8610 ext. 1266, (800) 663-7336

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