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All-party caucus on seniors care gains support

All major federal parties are interested in creating an all party caucus to raise the profile of the need for better seniors care in Canada.

The Canadian Medical Association recently sponsored a reception on Parliament Hill at which Members of Parliament Harold Albrecht from the Conservative Party, Irene Mathyssen of the NDP and John McCallum of the Liberals spoke in support of such a caucus.

While all agreed there is an important need for non-partisan federal initiative to review seniors care in Canada, they agreed the actual creation of the caucus will occur after the next federal election when – as Albrecht noted - more than 100 new MPs would be able to contribute on the issue.

Following remarks from the Speaker of the House Andrew Scheer, CMA Board Chair Brian Brodie opened the reception by applauding plans for the initiative and offering to have the CMA act as a resource for research and expertise. “The CMA is solidly behind you,” he said.

Brodie reiterated the concerns the CMA has about the current and future challenges facing the health care system in providing proper care for the elderly.

“Our hospitals have become overcrowded because there are thousands of seniors across the country that are in acute care hospital beds when they should be in long-term facilities or at home with community care support,” he said.

“This is a prime reason why physicians believe fixing seniors care will go a long way in fixing the entire health care system.”

McCallum noted that his perception of the CMA has changed “radically” in recent years, and he spoke highly of the association and its leadership on issues of public importance such as seniors care.

“All three parties are enthusiastic about carrying out this work,” he said.

“Canadians are worried about their retirement years,” said Mathyssen, noting that a quarter of a million seniors exist below the poverty line.

She added that the cost of doing nothing on seniors care would be to add a heavy burden on Canadians in the future.

Forward any comments about this article to: cmanews@cma.ca.