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CPhA sounds call for Canada to focus on health care
April 11th, 2011
OTTAWA – The leaders of the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA), Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) have joined forces to urge party leaders to focus on health care during the upcoming leaders' debates.
The CPhA, CMA and CNA said Monday that they welcome the recent attention that health care has received during Canada's election campaign, since polls have consistently shown that health care is by far the top issue for Canadians. Now the groups say that attention must be followed up with a debate on comprehensive plans and strategies to reform Canada's health care system.
"Our three organizations want to see the debate swing back to the importance of federal leadership in health care. We, and Canadians, will be assessing during this week's debates whether parties are truly committed to talking about the challenges facing our health care system," stated Ruth Ackerman, president of the Canadian Pharmacists Association. "In addition, our patients express their fears and frustrations to us every single day. We're now enlisting patients' help in pressing the political parties to explain how politicians propose to improve the system."
Dr. Judith Shamian, president of the Canadian Nurses Association, noted that Canadians deserve timely access to quality health care, "no matter where they live."
"As professionals, we are doing our best to change things from within, but our federal leadership needs to work with us to provide the tools we need to build a better publicly funded health system," Shamian explained. "Politicians and their leaders have the responsibility to work with us to solve the many challenges Canadians face within the health care system in all aspects of health care, including home care, primary care, hospitals and others."
The issue of health care is of particular concern as the party that forms Canada's next federal government will likely be responsible for negotiating the renewal of the 10-year health care accord, which is set to expire in 2014. The CPhA, CMA and CNA said they believe that the voice of Canadians is critical to that discussion.
"Patients must play a pivotal role in transforming our health care system so that it meets the needs of future generations," commented Dr. Jeff Turnbull, CMA president. "To achieve this, decision-makers could build on such ideas as the CMA's Charter for Patient-Centred Care to include expectations, responsibilities and resolution mechanisms — such as a health care ombudsman — so that patient needs and concerns are addressed in a meaningful way."