This edition of Health files features the second reading of a bill on long-term care neglect in Parliament and calls for action on addressing doctor shortages, and uneven and inadequate health care access.
Liberal Hedy Fry speaks to her private member’s bill on long-term care
“COVID exposed a lot of vulnerabilities that we, smugly, as governments and as caregivers and as a physician myself, always thought were being cared for. It exposed that there were holes in the safety net. The system was not up to the task,” Liberal MP Hedy Fry introducing Bill C-295, a private member’s bill to create an offence for long-term care facilities, their owners and their managers for failing to provide necessaries of life to residents of the facilities as quoted by CP 24, July 26, 2022. Bill C-295 was discussed in Parliament on Nov. 29, 2022.
Lack of data about where physicians are working and where the shortages are
“Part of the reason why we are where we are right now is that we haven’t been able to do proper health human resource planning,” said Tara Kiran, a family physician and researcher at the University of Toronto’s Department of Family and Community Medicine. “We lack the data to do that. And we haven’t understood how people are practising in real life,” said Tara Kiran, family physician and researcher, University of Toronto’s Department of Family and Community Medicine, to the Globe and Mail, Nov. 26, 2022.
Feds fund northern First Nations’ changes for access, services
“Access to care has been important for First Nations people for decades. So, although you have nurses and doctors, you have CT scans, MRIs, you have operations occurring, the real analysis that you have to take is, does it meet the mark for First Nations people?’ And in all my years of research and studying and practice, in 30 years, it never has,” said Dr. Barry Lavallee, chief executive officer, Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin Inc., a northern First Nations-led health organization, to the Winnipeg Free Press, Nov. 26, 2022.
Ok, the astronauts are getting health care – how about earthlings?
“We’re thinking of when astronauts spend a longer period of time on the moon and get ready to go to Mars they will need to increase their capacity to take care of their own health, to be self-reliant, when it comes to health care. But as we get ready for those missions, we’re looking to apply what we’re learning, what we’re developing for Canadians, improving access to health care, and more specifically, we think of medically isolated communities. So, communities in the north, rural locations, Indigenous communities, military deployment, disaster management, rescue teams, and so on,” said Annie Martin, Health Beyond portfolio manager, Canadian Space Agency, on CBC News, Nov. 24, 2022.
Ontario’s “Totally-Not-Better Care” Act
“To avoid moving far away to a sub-par facility, many patients might simply choose to go home despite a lack of adequate support. And since the law creates an adversarial relationship between patients and providers, others might choose to avoid hospitals altogether, thereby further compromising their health”: Toronto Star editorial, Nov. 28, 2022.
Saving the Canada Health Act
“The funny thing about the Canada Health Act (CHA) is that ‘medically necessary’ and ‘medically required’ aren’t defined. It’s up to the province, and that’s really just a matter of what the billing schedule is that they figure out with physicians. There’s no real science in it . . .Every Canadian should have some kind of access to primary care. There must be a mechanism to achieve that. Be transparent, show us what’s actually happening at the provincial level to improve access as promised under the CHA. Just doing nothing is terrible,” said Colleen M. Flood, University of Ottawa law professor and Canada Health Act expert, St. Thomas Times Journal, Nov. 28, 2022.
Quebec’s top pediatricians calling for nationwide action plan
“These are critical years for growth development milestones. For someone to know if a child’s health is normal, you need to see them, and on a regular basis to make sure they stay normal. That’s kind of obvious,” said Dr. Anne Monique Nuyt, chief of pediatrics at Ste-Justine Hospital, Montreal, to CTV, Nov. 24, 2022.