Across the country, our health care system is being challenged like never before. The COVID-19 pandemic has stretched our resources beyond capacity, exposing many pre-existing problems. Canada’s doctors are gravely concerned we are approaching a breaking point.
Access to care continues to be a major issue. Wait times for priority procedures are on the rise, and our health care system is failing to respond to the demands on an aging population. Unless action is taken, the federal share of health care funding will fall below 20% by 2026.
Tomorrow’s meeting is therefore vital.
We know that governments have invested unprecedented resources in responding to the pandemic. However, these efforts have not addressed chronic issues. It has been 16 years since the last substantial discussion among First Ministers to increase health care funding. We can’t squander this opportunity.
Today, medical associations across Canada stand united in calling on provincial, territorial and federal governments to reaffirm their commitment to health care by investing in priority areas. It’s time to heal our broken system.
We need to tackle unacceptable surgery backlogs, a lack of support for Canada’s growing elderly population to age at home, and a failing long-term care system. In addition, we need a robust integrated primary care model including the sustained adoption of virtual care.
These are just a few of the many health system challenges that existed before COVID-19. Many of these same issues were discussed at the First Ministers Meeting held in 2004 — a disappointing measure on the lack of progress.
All Canadians are entitled to equitable access to health care, both during and after this pandemic. Canada’s publicly funded health care system has long been our nation’s pride. We cannot let it crumble.
Dr. Ann Collins
President, Canadian Medical Association
Dr. Paul Boucher
President, Alberta Medical Association
Dr. Kathleen Ross
President, Doctors of BC
Dr. Cory Baillie
President, Doctors Manitoba
Dr. Robyn MacQuarrie
President, Doctors Nova Scotia
Dr. Trina Stewart
President, Medical Society of Prince Edward Island
Dr. Jeff Steeves
President, New Brunswick Medical Society
Dr. Lynette Powell
President, Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association
Dr. Andrew Kotaska
President, Northwest Territories Medical Association
Dr. Samantha Hill
President, Ontario Medical Association
Dr. Barb Konstantynowicz
President, Saskatchewan Medical Association
Dr. Ryan Warshawski
President, Yukon Medical Association
Dr. Diane Francoeur
Présidente, Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec
Dr. Louis Godin
Président, Fédération des médecins omnipraticiens du Québec