Dr. Leisha Hawker (right) and CMA President Dr. Sandy Buchman at CMA Election Readiness Day in June
Dr. Leisha Hawker doesn’t mince words when explaining the policy that would most benefit her patients.
“A universal pharmacare plan makes ethical, equitable and fiscal sense,” says the early-career physician.
Working at a Halifax community health centre, Dr. Hawker cares for many socially vulnerable patients, and every day, she sees them struggle to pay for prescription drugs.
“I often counsel my patients, ‘If you can’t afford all three of these drugs, these two are the more important ones.’ It’s hard to accept that your patients can’t afford everything they need.” – Dr. Leisha Hawker, Halifax physician, CMA VIP Program member
Dr. Hawker considers advocacy a big part of her job as a physician and sees the federal election as a huge opportunity to highlight the health issues impacting her patients – and the best ways to fix them.
With the support of the CMA and its election team, Dr. Hawker will be taking part in a series of advocacy activities in the coming weeks, including delivering a “campaign in a box” to local Halifax candidates.
The box helps explain to candidates why health is a key issue this election, with a letter from CMA President Dr. Sandy Buchman, solution sheets outlining the CMA’s six health priorities and a video explaining the importance of federal leadership on health issues.
“Colleagues say to me, ‘If I meet with a candidate, what do I even say?’” explains Dr. Hawker. “So any support the CMA can offer is helpful – especially when we’re strapped for time and struggling with work-life balance.”
In preparing its election plan, the CMA consulted widely with physicians and medical learners across Canada, and through extensive public opinion polling. Six pressing health issues emerged, where federal action is needed:
- Access to care
- Seniors care
- Virtual care
- Youth mental health
- Climate change and health
For her part, Dr. Hawker says beefing up primary care and realizing a national pharmacare plan are the issues she plans to champion, explaining that she longs for the day when she doesn’t need to ask a patient with an opioid dependence why they’ve missed three doses of a prescription for suboxone.
“Physicians have a voice that’s respected in the community and by politicians – we have the responsibility to speak for our patients who might not be able to speak for themselves.”
Here’s how you can give health a strong voice this election
If you have 1 minute:
Write a letter to the candidates in your riding.
Tweet about one of our key health care issues.
If you have 5 minutes:
Call your candidates and discuss some of our key health care issues.
If you have more time:
Download our information package and deliver it to the candidate(s) in your riding.