MONTREAL, Aug. 21, 2012 /CNW/ - According to a recent opinion poll, Quebecers have singled out access to health care as their number one priority followed by the economy and employment. "Quebecers are telling our politicians that what matters most to them are the things that impact their daily lives and access to health care is what is foremost on their minds, said Barry D. Stein, president of the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada ("CCAC")."
While most election issues do not seem to directly impact our lives on a daily basis, Quebecers are highlighting issues that affect them on a daily basis and they want their concerns met with concrete results, especially as it concerns their health.
Whether it is a lack of access to a family practitioner, long delays for diagnostics, inability to receive treatment, inability to obtain new cancer drugs and biologics, delays for surgical treatment or other barriers to treatment, our representatives whatever their political stripes must address these issues in a nonpartisan way for the benefit of our society as a whole. There is no time to waste and every day that patients are denied timely access to health care the direr the consequences are.
The consequences of not dealing with these issues in a timely and effective manner in the past are evidenced by the present inefficiencies in our health care system brought on by the lack of planning over many decades. "The difference today is that we have a growing and aging population faced with new and rapidly evolving technologies coupled with an infrastructure that is out of date. In short, we presently lack the resources to cope with the growing needs. Health care is a major priority for Quebecers and it is up to all of our politicians to meet the needs of our population." said Stein.
While some improvements have been made, we are not keeping pace with the existing needs of the population and in many cases the system is failing the very individuals it is meant to help. It is time invest in our healthcare system and engage in meaning full short and long term changes to ease present access issues and plan for the future, particularly when it comes to cancer.
Novel approaches to fund these changes must be considered whether it is a Health care tax contribution, insurance or private-public partnerships all must be considered to meet the growing needs if we are to advance rapidly.
With each election comes the opportunity to address these issues, however these issues have long been put on the back burner and we are suffering as a result. Our politicians have an opportunity and an obligation to work jointly toward achieving a goal that positively impacts the lives of all Quebecers.
Consequently, the CCAC is asking all political parties to address these issues in concert with a view to investing in our health care system in particular with respect to cancer in order to improving access to healthcare for all Quebecers in the in the shortest time possible.
The following is a short list of priorities that we believe our politicians should direct their efforts to in order to improving access to healthcare:
1. Primary prevention (healthy lifestyles) and Cancer Screening are public health priorities.
Coupled with healthy lifestyles screening can reduce the mortality from certain cancers and offer greater chances of a cure greatly reducing the cost of treatments. Primary care physicians should be encouraged and given incentives to ensure all patients are advised of the appropriate means of cancer prevention and screening techniques in a timely manner. (Colorectal cancer screening is a positive example of how we can save lives and ultimately reduce costs of treatment. The program should be rolled out to the entire province as soon as possible.)
2. The rapid implementation of an overall cancer control strategy and the creation of a Quebec Cancer Agency similar to that existing in provinces such as British Columbia.
We must immediately address short term concerns by:
a. Increased training of health professionals in all areas where shortages exist.
b. Increase capacity to diagnostics scans and colonoscopy to reduce wait times.
c. Further the deployment of synoptic reporting and electronic health records.
3. Create Quebec cancer tumour and genetic/hereditary registries. These registries will ensure researchers and future generations benefit from these depositories and they will go a long way to assist researchers find a cure and help future generations prevent cancer.
4. New drugs and Biologics; Quebec has promoted the development of the biotechnology industry, but it must also ensure its citizens benefit from these advances as much as possible by ensuring timely approval and access to new treatments. Quality of life must also be taken into consideration when approving drugs.
5. Reduce wait times: Quebec must do everything possible to ensure a reduction of wait time at all stages from the time first seen by a primary care physician seeing a specialist and receiving treatment. Unblocking our emergency care is essential and an increase in additional health clinics should be set up to elevate the stress on emergency centers with non-emergency cases.
6. Increase access to long term care facilities and palliative care services outside of hospitals. to ensure hospital beds are opened up more frequently and better treatment is given to those requiring long term care or at end of life.
7. Improve RAMQ as an organization to better deal with patient's concerns, information on where to obtain care and service. Better sharing of information and transparency will help provide patients better access to appropriate physicians in the province and outside of the province when medically required.
- The online poll was conducted by Léger Marketing from Monday to Wednesday August 6-8 and surveyed 1,303 people. The poll was conducted for the Quebec Community Groups Network, the Association of Canadian Studies, The Gazette and CJAD Radio 800. The margin of error for an equivalent telephone survey would be 2.9 percent 19 times out of 20.
About Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer, cancer of the colon or rectum, is the second-leading cause of cancer death in Canada. Though highly preventable and curable when detected early, an estimated 23,300 Canadians (13,000 men and 10,300 women) will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and approximately 9,200 (5,000 men and 4,200 women) sadly will die from it.
In Quebec, 6200 estimated new colorectal cancer cases (3400 men and 2800 women) 2450 estimated colorectal cancer deaths (1300 men and 1150 women)
An almost equal number of men and women are affected by colorectal cancer. One in 14 men and one in 16 women are expected to develop the disease during their lifetime. One in 28 men and one in 31 women will die from it.
About the CCAC
The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada is the country's leading non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of colorectal cancer, supporting patients and advocating for national screening and timely and equal access to effective treatment options to improve patient outcomes.
Visit the CCAC website, www.colorectal-cancer.ca, for up-to-date information on colorectal cancer or call the toll-free number, 1.877.50.COLON (26566)
The latest CCAC campaign can be viewed at www.savebutts.ca.
SOURCE: COLORECTAL CANCER ASSOCIATION OF CANADA
For further information:
For more information about colorectal cancer or to schedule an interview please contact:
514 337 5594
Barry D. Stein president CCAC
514 875 7899