In his appearance this week before a Senate committee studying Canada’s pandemic response, the president of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) emphasized the need to strengthen gaps in the health care system.
Pointing to the shortcomings revealed during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as poor access to care, weakened primary care networks and the dire state of seniors care, Dr. Sandy Buchman made the case for improving the system to ensure it’s better equipped for future public health emergencies.
Long before COVID-19, too many Canadians were falling through the cracks. Too many physicians and other health professionals were stressed to the breaking point. These cracks have only grown. They have become crevasses. – Dr. Sandy Buchman, CMA president
In his remarks to the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, he also stressed the importance of building on what’s been learned through the pandemic, highlighting the benefits of telemedicine and virtual health care and the important role they can play in the future delivery of medical care in Canada.
With more than half the deaths from COVID-19 occurring in long-term care homes, Dr. Buchman stressed the need to renew the discussion of a coordinated, national seniors care strategy.
He also emphasized the need to take care of Canada’s front-line health care workers, calling on the government to continue to ensure adequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) are available, especially as public health restrictions begin to lift.
“Physicians continue to express grave concerns about the lack of supply of PPE. They’re being told to ration and reuse and in some cases the supplies are sub-standard,” Dr. Buchman told the committee.
Finally, he asked them to consider additional measures that acknowledge the risks and financial burden health care workers have taken on.
Dr. Buchman’s appearance is part of the CMA’s ongoing efforts to highlight members’ concerns during COVID-19 and to press for government action.