Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Health ministers’ meeting falls short of immediate action to address health system crisis: CMA

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The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is disappointed that the first in-person meeting of Canada’s health ministers in four years has ended without arriving at immediate, meaningful solutions to address the concurrent, ongoing crises across our 13 Provincial and Territorial health systems.

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We are encouraged that the federal government is prepared to increase health care investments through the Canada Health Transfer, something we have advocated for years. We support the call for the creation of a robust, national health data system. Sharing data and solutions is critical for quality improvement and essential to address ongoing stresses on health systems like COVID-19. We cannot address the collapse happening in disparate parts of our 13 health care systems without detailed, timely, data-driven understanding of existing challenges. We are also encouraged by the steps taken by some provinces and territories exploring regional licensure and team-based care.

Despite health ministers leaving Vancouver this week without an agreement between the federal and provincial/territorial governments regarding funding and without the announcement of a commitment to collaborate on solutions to address critical issues plaguing our health systems, the CMA and other health stakeholders will continue to advocate for actions that will stabilize health systems and ease the painful challenges that providers and patients are struggling with. Unless we work through funding discussions toward common priorities and actionable solutions, burned out health care workers, delayed health services and overwhelmed emergency departments will continue to be a reality for providers and patients across Canada.

Funding continues to be the dominant topic between governments. While increased funding is certainly needed, it cannot remain the sole focus. The CMA will continue to urge governments to collaborate across jurisdictional silos to get to the root of our health care system challenges. We can only transform health systems if we rebuild the foundations they are built upon.

The deterioration of our 13 provincial and territorial health systems continues. Health care providers are burning out at an accelerated rate. Patients continue to suffer with delayed access to the care they need.

We can overcome our shared crises with collaborative solutions. We have already presented a prescription for what needs to be done. We look to governments to act and renew our hope that change is coming.

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