Doctors, nurses and health workers are bracing themselves for another summer of dire staff shortages-- the kind that forced hospitals across the country to close emergency departments, already overwhelmed by patients with no family doctor and nowhere else to turn.
The premiers’ annual meeting is a critical opportunity for timely, tangible action.
Last year, provinces and territories called for increased federal health funding. In February, Ottawa announced the highest level of health funding in decades. Now, it’s time for first ministers to build on that progress with measurable improvements.
The CMA has released a new report, Improving Accountability in Health Care for Canadians, to help inform discussions on meaningful change for both patients and providers.
In addition to the eight headline indicators included in provincial-federal funding agreements, we are proposing five new benchmarks for health system performance. These include the percentage of Canadians with access to a family health team, reductions in backlogs for priority surgeries and metrics to track provider wellbeing.
We can fix our health systems. We’ve already started.
The CMA’s benchmarks reflect our ongoing advocacy for both urgent and long-term health reform. Since the 2022 Summer Meeting of Canada’s Premiers, we’ve made significant headway:
- There’s growing support for physician mobility, paving the way for pan-Canadian licensure.
- In March, the House of Commons released a report on Canada’s health workforce crisis, including recommendations put forward by the CMA with the Canadian Nurses Association and the College of Family Physicians of Canada.
- Our calls for investments in health care are reflected in the boost in federal health spending announced in February and confirmed in the 2023 Budget.
- Our advocacy for collaboration between all levels of government is also signaled in the federal-provincial health deal.
- We recently made strides on our path to truth and reconciliation, announcing our Indigenous health goal, developed in collaboration with an Indigenous Guiding Circle, and our work on a formal apology, as the national voice of physicians, for harms to Indigenous Peoples.
“What we now need is ongoing political will to make brave decisions. We owe it to patients and health professionals to leverage this moment in time to expand access, support our workforce and drive lasting improvements.” -- CMA President Dr. Alika Lafontaine
Shaping better health care, with health providers
The CMA also continues to engage the people who know the health system best-- doctors at all stages of their careers, patients and other health providers-- to shape a better future of health:
- We brought together doctors, nurses, patients and politicians at our Health Summit Series: Bold Choices in Health Care.
- At our Fireside Chats on Indigenous Health, CMA President Dr. Alika Lafontaine led a series of intimate discussions on how we can move forward, together, on reconciliation.
- Aug. 17 and 18 is our annual Health Summit, in Ottawa and online, this year focused on What Health Care Should Be
- This fall, we will host Canada-wide consultations on public and private delivery of care as part of the ongoing dialogue we must have on funding, access and capacity.
The work that’s needed to fix our health systems is just beginning. The CMA looks forward to working with governments at all levels, as well as patients and providers, to drive the change we need. And to monitor progress. A goal without a plan is just a wish.