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Election called: CMA ready

With a federal election now underway, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is significantly ratcheting up advocacy efforts to obtain appropriate care for Canada’s seniors.

The CMA is making tools and resources available for its members and the public to effectively lobby potential federal politicians. The goal is a commitment to develop a national strategy for seniors care.

“As our political leaders embark on a new election campaign, Canada’s physicians call on all candidates to turn their attention to an area where the need is great,” said CMA President Chris Simpson in response to the election call. “I’m speaking, of course, of seniors care.

“During this campaign, my fellow physicians and I will be meeting with Canadians across the country to get their views on the issue of seniors care, and also to present our vision of what a seniors care strategy could look like.”

As he has been doing for months in the lead-up to this campaign, Simpson detailed why a national strategy for seniors care is so important — both to older patients and to the health care system.

“Thousands of seniors are stuck in hospital beds because we as a society are not investing enough in long-term care and home care services,” he said, noting the CMA has estimated that if these services were expanded to accommodate those seniors now being inappropriately kept in hospital “we could free up $2.3 billion a year in our health care system, which could be put to better use for all Canadians.”

With more than 10,000 members of the public already signed up to its demandaplan.ca campaign, the CMA plans to boost its efforts to gain more support. “Join us,” Simpson urged.

The CMA will remain neutral during the election, as per tradition, and not endorse any political party or candidate.

However, the association will be tracking commitments made by the parties expressing support for a national seniors strategy, and will publish its results at the end of the campaign. As Simpson notes, “Canadians who care about seniors care can make an informed decision when they are at the ballot box.”

To help its members become involved in the campaign, the CMA is making a toolkit available that offers key messages and ways in which physicians can participate in the election.

“We hope that you educate yourselves, engage with your communities and become leaders in the discussion. By doing so, we will turn advocacy into action,” the CMA stated in a message to members.

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