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Canadian Association of Radiologists

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The Official Voice of Radiation Oncology

The Official Voice of Radiation Oncology
Canadian Cardiovascular Society

Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Canadian Ophtalmological Society

Canadian Ophtalmological Society

April 03, 2005 17:00 ET

CMA: Groundbreaking Report on Health Care Wait Times Released


NEWS RELEASE TRANSMITTED BY CCNMatthews

FOR: CANADIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

AND CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF RADIOLOGISTS

AND CANM

AND THE OFFICIAL VOICE OF RADIATION ONCOLOGY

AND CANADIAN CARDIOVASCULAR SOCIETY

AND CANADIAN OPHTALMOLOGICAL SOCIETY

APRIL 3, 2005 - 17:00 ET

CMA: Groundbreaking Report on Health Care Wait Times
Released

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 3, 2005) - Seven national medical
organizations have united to release an interim report examining the
problem of wait times for health care in Canada and to establish new
benchmarks for medically acceptable wait times for care.

The Wait Time Alliance of Canada (WTA) released an interim report today
(available under embargo at
http://www.cma.ca/index.cfm/ci_id/43436/la_id/1.htm). The Report
outlines evidence-based benchmarks for medically acceptable wait times
for access to care in: heart, cancer, diagnostic imaging, joint
replacement and sight restoration.

The report is a direct response to the commitment made by First
Ministers in September 2004 (10-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care) to
establish evidence-based benchmarks for medically acceptable wait times
in the five priority areas. With the deadline fast approaching (December
31, 2005), Federal-Provincial-Territorial governments have commissioned
research on this issue, but have yet to come forward with a process to
develop national benchmarks.

"We have an important role to play in this process," said Cardiologist
and spokesperson for the WTA, Dr. Ruth Collins-Nakai. "Front line health
care providers played a key role leading up to that agreement, pushing
for greater accessibility and accountability in the system. Now that the
time has come to implement that Accord, we are acting again, for the
good of our patients."

The report - "No More Time to Wait" - identifies wait time thresholds
for these five areas, beyond which best available evidence and clinical
consensus indicate patient health is likely to be adversely affected.
The report also provides governments with recommendations on
establishing a framework to improve access and reduce wait times.

"The First Ministers' Plan offers the promise of better access to health
services, but fulfilling that promise requires real work, right now,"
said Normand Laberge, WTA spokesperson and Chief Executive Officer of
the Canadian Association of Radiologists. "This report is a starting
point for an informed discussion that will lead to development of
national wait time benchmarks. What is needed now is the political will
for governments to act to fulfil their collective commitment."

This interim report represents the consensus of clinical working groups
assembled by each of the six participating national specialty societies.
The WTA's final report, to be released in August, 2005, will present
completed evidence-based benchmarks and give governments a comprehensive
implementation plan on how to achieve these benchmarks and set targets
to improve access.

"This interim report is the first cut. We intend to use these findings
to consult with patients, governments and with other stakeholders," said
Dr. Collins-Nakai. "Our goal is always to be helpful and constructive.
Much more work is needed to ensure that patients can benefit from
improved access and shorter wait times for health services - but we have
to start here and now. There really is "No More Time to Wait."

The Wait Time Alliance of Canada (WTA) is comprised of the Canadian
Medical Association, the Canadian Association of Radiologists, the
Canadian Association of Nuclear Medicine, the Canadian Association of
Radiation Oncologists, the Canadian Cardiovascular Society, the Canadian
Ophthalmological Society, and the Canadian Orthopaedic Association

A "Table 1: Provisional summary of benchmarks by priority level (unless
specified, time refers to calendar days).at the following address:
http://www2.ccnmatthews.com/database/fax/2000/cmat0401.pdf

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