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Government & policy

CMA pinpoints areas in need of improvement

OTTAWA – The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has unveiled a new policy document aimed at driving change in Canada’s healthcare system to better meet the needs of patients now and in the future. It also aims at framing future discussions between the Federal, Provincial and Territorial governments in preparation for the renewal of the Health Accord in 2014.

“Canada’s physicians know that the time to act is past due if we are going to devise a plan to build a sustainable healthcare system that actually meets the needs of patients, instead of one that simply makes the promise but falls short in many areas,” said Dr. Anne Doig (pictured), President of the CMA. “Our system needs to be massively transformed and the CMA is engaging Canadians to discuss and debate the hard choices we will need to make as a nation to move our system forward.”

The CMA policy document, entitled “Healthcare Transformation in Canada: Change that Works. Care that Lasts,” focuses on taking the dialogue around healthcare in Canada beyond the narrowly interpreted parameters set out by the Canada Health Act.

“The goal of this effort is to improve the health of Canada’s population, to improve the patient’s experience of healthcare and to improve the value for the money we spend as a nation on healthcare,” said Dr. Doig. “With initiatives such as a new Charter for Patient-centred care and focused action we can build the next generation of healthcare in Canada.”

The CMA’s “Healthcare Transformation in Canada: Change that Works. Care that Lasts,” is a document that includes a framework for transformation organized upon five pillars for specific action, with key actions or deliverables in each. The pillars are:

• Building a culture of patient-centred care; Key action: Create a Charter for Patient-centred Care

• Incentives for enhancing access and improving quality of care; Key action: Change incentives to enhance timely access. Key action: Change incentives to support quality care.

• Enhancing patient access along the continuum of care; Key action: Universal access to prescription drugs. Key action: Continuing care outside acute care facilities.

• Helping providers help patients; Key action: Ensure Canada has an adequate supply of health human resources. Key action: Improve adoption of health information technologies.

• Building accountability/responsibility at all levels; Key action: Build system accountability. Key action: Build system stewardship.

By directing action in a concerted and organized way within the five pillars, Canada can reform the healthcare system so that it meets the needs of patients. “As we have taken these ideas out to patients and stakeholders we have been gratified to see how they resonate with healthcare professionals, stakeholders, patients and even policymakers,” said Dr. Doig. “We want to continue that dialogue and drive that momentum forward so that it results in concrete action.”

The "Health Care Transformation in Canada: Change that Works. Care that Lasts" policy document will be the centerpiece at the upcoming CMA Annual General Meeting where physician-delegates from across the country will discuss and debate next steps around strategies to transform the healthcare system.

Posted August 12, 2010