Appearing before a federal health committee this week, CMA President Dr. Ann Collins warned elected officials that Canada’s health systems – and their health workers – have reached a critical tipping point.
“After almost a year on the frontlines in untenable circumstances, burnout is a grave concern,” Dr. Collins told the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health.
“We’re sounding the alarm.” – CMA President Dr. Ann Collins
She made the comments Monday, during hearings about the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and urged government and health authorities to act on several fronts, including:
- Recognizing and raising awareness of the need to support health care providers as part of the public education messaging on COVID-19.
- Investing in the creation of a mental health COVID-19 task force, to mobilize national mental health associations to support the mental health needs of care providers during and following the resurgence.
- Funding and implementing sustainable, evidence-based mental health services and supports for the Canadian population to respond to the increased demand due to COVID-19.
- Setting up a Health Care and Innovation Fund of $4B in federal funds to address the backlog of medical services, expand primary care teams and boost the capacity of public health.
“Every tipping point needs a steadying hand,” Dr. Collins told the committee. “Canada is reaching out for it.”
Her appearance came on the same day the federal government released its fall economic statement; a document intended to address the economic impacts of the pandemic. In her response to the statement, Dr. Collins echoed a similar message, explaining that without a strong health system with support for those working in it, the recovery sits on a “precarious foundation.”