Home Medizin Kanadische medizinische Gruppen schließen sich zusammen, um Maßnahmen der Regierung zu fordern

Kanadische medizinische Gruppen schließen sich zusammen, um Maßnahmen der Regierung zu fordern

von NFI Redaktion

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) have issued a joint statement calling on the federal government to address health systems that are „on the brink of collapse,“ starting with primary care.

In the statement, Michael Green, MD, MPH, Professor of Family Medicine at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada and President of CFPC, and Kathleen Ross, MD, a family physician in Coquitlam and New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada and President of CMA, pointed out that a year ago, the federal government had promised „the most significant investment in healthcare in more than two decades“ after COVID-19 exacerbated the longstanding struggle for timely care. However, a large portion of the money has hit a bottleneck, and there is no consensus on how it should be spent.

Provincial Agreements

Green and Ross wrote that a large part of the planned $100 billion investments by the government depends on provinces and territories creating action plans and signing bilateral agreements with the federal government. However, at the time the letter was issued, only four provinces (out of the ten provinces and three territories) had signed agreements with the government. These included British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Alberta, and Nova Scotia. On February 9, Ontario became the fifth province to reach an agreement, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford signing a $3.1 billion deal to deploy the investment funds.

Ross and Green wrote that waiting times for surgeries and life-saving treatments are long. They added that physician burnout is high, with „overwhelming administrative burden“ and „inadequate“ payment.

„More than 6 million Canadians do not have a family doctor,“ they wrote. „We need action. We need it now.“

„Our healthcare system has not met expectations,“ conceded Trudeau’s office in a press release on February 9. „From overcrowded emergency rooms to backlogs in surgeries and healthcare workers under enormous pressure, Canadians deserve immediate action to ensure better healthcare when and where they need it. That is why the Canadian government is making transformative investments to improve how provinces and territories deliver healthcare across the country.“

For Ontario, the federal government promises to „hire hundreds of new family doctors and nurses, as well as thousands of new nurses and personal support workers.“

Investments in Mental Health

The government is also investing in mental health in Ontario and promises to add five new Youth Wellness Hubs to the existing 22 that have been in operation since 2020. The measure aims to facilitate youths‘ access to mental health and substance use services in remote and indigenous communities. „The province will also further expand its structured psychotherapy program, helping thousands more Ontarians get timely help for depression or anxiety with free cognitive behavioural therapy and other related supports,“ the press release stated.

The joint letter from the medical groups includes a link to a page for drafting letters with information on demanding further reforms.

„The state of the healthcare system in Canada has significantly deteriorated over the past five years,“ Green told Medscape Medical News. From about 2003 to 2014, investments in healthcare were a priority, he added.

In 2014 and 2015, „the government neglected the development of healthcare,“ Green said. The population grew and aged, healthcare became more complex, and physicians of all ages valued work-life balance. Support in mental health couldn’t keep up. The pandemic then exacerbated the accumulated deficits.

Family Medicine „in Crisis“

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has calculated that Canada’s spending on primary care, the majority of which is spent on family care, accounts for just over 5% of the country’s total healthcare spending. The leading countries are at 10–12%, Green explained. „We are vastly underinvested.“

According to Green, the biggest issue in Canadian healthcare currently is the growing number of people without access to healthcare. The average amount of people without access stands at 25%, although it varies greatly by province.

Even with the new provincial agreement, the question remains of how quickly the money can flow into programs in Ontario, Green said.

The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) said in a press release that the agreement on February 9 was welcome, but more resources were required.

„Among the most urgent priorities are addressing the crisis in primary care, coping with growing burdens of unnecessary administration, and increasing community capacities to deal with hospital overcrowding,“ the OMA wrote. „Far too many of Ontario’s residents, an astonishing 2.3 million people, already do not have a family doctor, and it is expected that this number will nearly double in just two years,“ they wrote.

The new funding will also help modernize the collection of medical data, which is expected to help reduce paperwork, the OMA said. „The average family doctor spends nearly 40% of their workweek on administrative tasks,“ the release stated.

No relevant financial relationships were reported.

Marcia Frellick, a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, has been a health journalist in Chicago for more than 20 years. Following a series of editor roles at St. Cloud Times, The Press-Citizen of Iowa City, The Cincinnati Enquirer, and the Chicago Sun-Times, she has written for the Chicago Tribune, Science News, and Northwestern Magazine, as well as Medscape Medical News, MDEdge, and WebMD.

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