OTTAWA, March 27, 2012 /CNW/ - The CMA is encouraged by a Senate standing committee study that recommends that the federal government leverage the billions of dollars it transfers to the provinces and territories to transform Canada's health care system.
However, some of the recommendations from the study of the 2004 Ten-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care in Canada by the Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee are also a stark reminder of some of the unfinished business of that accord, said CMA President Dr. John Haggie.
"The good news is that the Senate committee recommends that federal transfers for health be linked to incentives, measurable goals, timetables and annual public reporting to help transform the system," Dr. Haggie said. "On the other hand, recommendations such as the need to move forward on the National Pharmaceuticals Strategy and to expand pharmaceutical coverage underscore the work that remains to be done to deliver on the commitments of the 2004 health accord."
The CMA appeared before the committee in its hearings last fall.
The Senate committee also recommended that the health care system be transformed using a principles-based approach. The CMA and the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) together defined such a set of principles (www.cma.ca/advocacy/hctprinciples). To date, the principles have been endorsed by over 100 patient, medical and health organizations.
The goal is to have these principles guide discussions at the provincial/territorial and federal levels as they strive to develop innovative ways to ensure Canadians can get the care they need, when they need it.
"The Senate review is yet another in a string of wake-up calls for our leaders to act on health," Dr. Haggie said. "We urge the federal government not to shelve the report, as has happened so many times before with the excuse that health care is too complex an issue to tackle. Patients are looking for leadership to bring about transformative change."
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians. Founded in 1867, CMA's mission is to serve and unite the physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and health care. The CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing over 77,000 of Canada's physicians and comprising 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and 51 national medical organizations.
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