Canadian Healthcare Association

Canadian Healthcare Association

February 26, 2008 22:49 ET

CHA, Budget 2008: Health on the Back Burner

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 26, 2008) - The Canadian Healthcare Association is disappointed that Budget 2008 has missed the opportunity to move forward on key elements of health system renewal.

"Clearly, health, a top priority for Canadians, has been relegated to the back burner as this government turns to other issues," commented Pamela Fralick, President and CEO of the Canadian Healthcare Association.

The $110 million allocation to the Canadian Mental Health Commission over five years is an important step in addressing mental health issues, which have long been ignored by the health system.

As well, CHA welcomes the improvements to scientific research and experimental development programs. However, the health system as a whole is not a winner in this budget. While Budget 2008 provided $34 million dollars in additional funding for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, CHA reiterates its position that the funds allocated to CIHR in this and previous budgets are not sufficient to maintain a healthy research environment. This could contribute to the reversal of the recent "brain gain."

Funds allocated for student loans and grants are welcome for low and middle income students, but the programs announced today have no targeted funding for the education and training of badly needed health human resources.

CHA noted with disappointment that there were no funds for a comprehensive, interoperable, and secure Electronic Health Record, which is a necessary component for an effective, efficient and safe health system. For several years, CHA has recommended a $6.2 billion investment over a five-year period for an electronic heath record. This budget will do nothing to move this initiative forward.

CHA, in its pre-Budget brief, identified a need for a health care infrastructure fund to revitalize aging health care facilities, as well as a medical diagnostic fund linked to the safety of health workers and patients in all settings. The establishment of a permanent Gas Tax Fund, which recognizes the need for long-term funding for infrastructure such as public transit and local roads, does not address the need for funds to revitalize Canadian healthcare facilities.

"It is important for the government to recognize that there is still unfinished business in the health system," said Lynda Cranston, CHA Board Chair. "We have not addressed the issue of long-term home care, facility-based long-term care, and the need for a pharmaceutical strategy to address gaps in access, undue financial burden and lack of equity in the health system."

To read CHA's pre-Budget Brief 2007, please visit www.cha.ca.

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Advancing healthcare for Canadians

The Canadian Healthcare Association (CHA) is the federation of provincial and territorial hospital and health organizations committed to preserving and strengthening Canada's health system.

Through its members, CHA represents a broad continuum of services provided through regional health authorities, hospitals, facilities and agencies that are governed by trustees who act in the public interest.

CHA is a leader in developing, and advocating for, health policy solutions that meet the needs of Canadians and is committed to a publicly funded health system that provides access to a continuum of comparable health services throughout Canada.

Contact Information

  • Canadian Healthcare Association
    Teresa Neuman
    Communications Specialist
    613-241-8005, ext. 205
    613-282-6003 (Cell)
    tneuman@cha.ca