Over the past several months, I’ve been working to share the physician perspective on the federal government’s response to the pandemic, appearing before a number of parliamentary committees to highlight the actions needed across our health care system.
One of these committees, the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, recently released their interim report and I was pleased to see it captured many of the issues I addressed in my remarks — such as the need to better protect health care workers, develop a national seniors care strategy and ensure better public health planning and emergency preparedness.
As lockdown restrictions lift and we anticipate future flare-ups of the virus, we’re also continuing to call for action in five critical areas to ensure we’re prepared for a potential second wave. These include:
- Continued development and dissemination of clear, consistent public health messaging
- Greater access to testing and early contact tracing
- Better protection of health care providers’ physical, mental and financial well-being
- Better protection of marginalized and susceptible populations, including long-term care residents
- Support in resuming and providing timely access to health care services postponed during the pandemic, e.g., “nonessential” surgeries, procedures and consults
Shaping the CMA’s work
At the CMA, we’re committed to working with our members to identify the challenges facing the profession and developing solutions to help resolve them. Earlier this year, we hosted six member forums to gather your ideas for action on three top health care issues: access to care, physician health and wellness, and future health care disruptions.
The feedback and ideas shared at these forums – and detailed in the final report – are already shaping our work. For example, what we heard on access to care guided the creation of new virtual care guides for physicians and patients. After hearing the need for more wellness supports, we launched the Wellness Support Line to provide complimentary, 24/7 counselling to physicians, residents and medical students.
And we want to keep building on your ideas. If you’re interested in learning more about our strategy and advocacy work and providing your input, I encourage you to attend our virtual AGM on Sunday, Aug. 23. To view this year’s agenda and to register, please visit cma.ca/AGM2020.
New health and wellness resources
Psychiatrist Dr. Mary Elliott and her team at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto had five months to develop and implement a new resiliency wellness program for its 1,400 staff. Here’s how they did it, what made it stick and how it’s helped them better cope with the pandemic.
- Looking for peer support? We’re hosting a number of virtual group sessions over the next two weeks through our recently launched Wellness Connection portal.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions or suggestions. Our Member Service Centre can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or toll-free at 1-888-855-2555 (weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm ET).
Dr. Sandy Buchman