Canadian Medical Association

Canadian Medical Association

October 21, 2008 12:00 ET

CMA President Calls on Federal Government to Act Now to Protect Health

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 21, 2008) - Dr. Robert Ouellet, President of the Canadian Medical Association, today challenged the new federal government to act now to protect health in the face of uncertain economic times.

"Today's wildly unpredictable economic climate must not bring about a return to the dark days of the 1990s when drastic cuts to health care all but crippled Canada's health care system, " stated Dr. Ouellet. "History must not be allowed to repeat itself."

In a speech today to the Club canadien de Toronto, Dr. Ouellet called on Canadians to press for action.

"Our political leaders must act now," said Dr.Ouellet. "Difficult times call for real leadership. Canadians are looking to their federal government to fulfill its responsibility to provide timely access to high quality health care services."

Dr. Ouellet acknowledged that the economy is a key concern for Canadians, but he pointed out that improving the health care system remains top-of-mind for Canadians.

"Obviously Canadians are worried about the country's economic situation and how it will affect them and their families," said Dr. Ouellet. "Yet polling done for the CMA during the recent federal election campaign shows that health care remains tied with the economy as the most important issue requiring governement action", added Dr. Ouellet.

In issuing his challenge, Dr. Ouellet called for action from federal, provincial and territorial governments to:

- reduce waiting lists;

- develop a national strategy that will lead to self-sufficiency in doctors and health care professionals;

- establish a national prescription drug insurance plan;

- bring in patient-focused funding for hospital services; and

- recognize, monitor and develop a framework to direct how the private sector can play an increased and complementary role in supporting the public system.

The CMA is also about to begin an international fact-finding mission to examine ideas for health care reform and renewal in several European countries. The international research will examine reforms undertaken in England, France, Denmark and other countries that have recently made changes to their systems to improve timely access for patients.

"I look to several European countries that had wait lists problems, but solved them and I ask why can't we do the same for our patients here in Canada," asked Dr. Ouellet. "We want to learn from their successes, and their failures, and take action to improve our system for Canadians."

Contact Information

  • Canadian Medical Association
    Lucie Boileau
    Media Relations Manager
    800-663-7336 or 613 731-8610, ext. 1266