At the halfway point of the federal election campaign, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), the Canadian Association of Social Workers, the Canadian Nurses Association and the College of Family Physicians of Canada joined forces to call on federal political parties to establish a targeted $1.2 billion Primary Health Care Transition Fund (PHCTF).
“We need to shift away from episodic care toward an approach of continuous care — both prevention and management.” - Dr. Sandy Buchman, CMA president
The fund would provide the support needed to establish models of primary care, such as the Patient’s Medical Home. It uses a team-based approach to connect family physicians, nurses, social workers and other health professionals to provide comprehensive primary care to their patients and has been proven to lead to better prevention and health outcomes.
This call comes at a critical point in the election, with recent polling by Ipsos showing more than half of Canadians are dissatisfied with how political parties are addressing health care issues on the campaign trail.
At the same time, access to primary care continues to be a challenge, with nearly five million Canadians over the age of 12 reporting that they do not have regular health care provider. Even amongst Canadians who do have a regular provider, only 4 in 10 were able to get an appointment within 48 hours of needing care.
The Primary Health Care Transition fund would build on the groundwork established by the first fund, launched in 2000.
As Dr. Buchman explained at the Vancouver press conference, “There’s one thing I’m resolute about: You don’t abandon your patients. We need to restore access to health care for all Canadians. That’s why the CMA is advocating for a national approach to health human resource planning.”
After the press conference, Dr. Buchman spent the afternoon meeting with local candidates from all four federal parties, to explain the pressing need for federal commitments on health care. Access to care is one of six issues the CMA is championing this election, along with seniors care, pharmacare, virtual care, youth access to mental health service, and climate change and health.