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CMA stance endorsed by Globe and Mail

The Canadian Medical Association’s call for a national seniors strategy has received one of its strongest endorsements to date — from the Globe and Mail national newspaper.

Following a visit by CMA President Chris Simpson to the editorial board of the newspaper, the Globe published a lengthy piece providing strong support for the CMA’s position.

The editorial began by pointing out that while everyone has a stake in how well the health care system looks after seniors, both the public and physicians have concerns about the system’s ability to do this, based on CMA polling and feedback from association members.

The editorial went on to reference Canada’s growing aging population and the problems facing Ontario hospitals with “code gridlock” – both of which Simpson highlights in presentations about the impending crisis.

“The new normal for doctors, nurses and hospital administrators is the daily struggle to find places for elderly patients who should be in a long-term facility instead of on a gurney in a hallway,” the article noted, adding this is why “it is easy to endorse the CMA’s call for a national seniors strategy.”

The editorial continued: “… at a time when our health-care system needs to be girding itself for a new reality, it is in fact falling behind other developed countries in terms of quality, effectiveness and efficiency.” It then referenced the Commonwealth Fund survey ranking the Canadian health care system second last out of 11 countries based on a number of parameters, with only the United States ranking lower.

“We could go on. And it could get uglier,” the editorial noted. “Dr. Simpson points out that, thanks to the Affordable Health Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, the U.S. might conceivably bump Canada down into last spot within a year or two. The U.S. health-care system is getting better, and ours is stagnant, at best.”

The editorial stated that what needs to be done is not complicated but involves investing in new, properly staffed long-term care facilities.

Noting that the CMA is looking for a partner in its call for a national strategy for seniors, the editorial said all national political parties – including the ruling Conservatives – should support this initiative “without qualification.”

The editorial concluded: “The CMA has done us all a favour by identifying an issue that is far more pressing (than lower taxes and safer streets) but woefully underappreciated in Ottawa.”

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