Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU)

Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU)

June 09, 2005 13:26 ET

Governments must act now to block parallel system

Now governments must strengthen laws and cut waiting times to block parallel system Attention: Assignment Editor, Health/Medical Editor, News Editor, Photo Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - June 9, 2005) - "The ruling of the Supreme Court today should not encourage those who hope that adding private insurance will fix health care in Canada," said the president of Canada's largest organization of nurses, Linda Silas, RN. The Court ruled that "the prohibition on obtaining private health insurance is not constitutional where the public system fails to deliver reasonable services."

"The Court's ruling applies to Quebec, but it has implications for Canada. Those who would profit from sickness, discomfort and disease will move now to create private for-profit facilities. Private, for-profit insurers will take similar actions, as both groups prepare legal challenges," said CFNU's Silas.

"No one should assume that private insurers and private providers will fix what ails Canada's health care. We have a parallel system in prescription drugs. We have private insurance in prescriptions. We have private providers of these drugs. Is everyone covered? Does everyone get the drugs they need, when they need them? No. On one side of this parallel private system, we see well-heeled drug lobbyists. We see the drive for direct to consumer prescription advertising. We see the limiting of rights of generics. On the other side, we also see people without coverage. We see people with expensive drugs bills.

"The obligation is on governments to fix what they broke. One quarter-trillion dollars (that's right) in budget cuts on the federal and provincial levels from 1996 to 2003, put enormous burdens on our health care system. Long line-ups were one side effect of the cuts.

"Governments all say they want to cut line-ups. The federal government has promised the money to do so, but now all governments must move to require (1) spending that money on cutting waiting times in our not-for-profit system; and (2) strengthening and then enforcing laws that prohibit a private parallel system which will only serve to attract doctors, nurses and other health professionals from the public system making waiting times there even longer.

"Rhetoric won't do it. This decision will make things worse unless governments act now," Silas concluded.

/For further information: Teresa Neuman, Communications 613-526-4661 ext 222/ IN: HEALTH, LABOUR, POLITICS

Contact Information

  • Linda Silas, President, Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions
    Primary Phone: 613-526-4661 ext. 224
    Secondary Phone: 613-859-4314
    Toll-Free: 800-321-9821
    E-mail: linda.silas@nursesunions.ca