Today, we find ourselves at a crossroads. The rates at which Canadians are testing positive for COVID-19 are accelerating at a concerning pace, while our federal government is setting the stage for how we will recover and emerge from this ongoing pandemic. Health must be front and centre.
We commend the government for reinforcing previous commitments to increase Canadians’ access to a family doctor or primary care team; address long-standing issues, such as national standards for long-term care; invest in the infrastructure needed to make virtual care a lasting reality; solve current testing capacity concerns; and accelerate the implementation of a national pharmacare program.
Unfortunately, today’s speech falls short of delivering on the promise of ensuring a resilient health care system and keeping Canadians healthy. Our health care system has found itself weakened by the ultimate stress test. As a result, the CMA is calling for further federal investment to resume health care services, address long wait times and boost our public health capacity to deliver on its full mandate. We hope to see these critical outstanding issues addressed later this fall when the prime minister meets with his provincial and territorial counterparts.
As front-line health care workers, physicians believe that a healthy recovery and the health of Canadians should be the centrepiece of our government’s agenda. We intend to work with governments and stakeholders in the coming months to ensure that we improve on our health system’s foundation — to sustain the effort required to face this pandemic and meet the ongoing health care needs of Canadians.
Dr. Ann Collins
President, Canadian Medical Association