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Ambrose misses the big picture in speech

TORONTO, August 19, 2014 - In her speech addressing the Canadian Medical Association General Council today, Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose recounted a laundry list of initiatives. However, she failed to offer any meaningful commitment to coordinate with the provinces on the major issues facing Canadian health care including access to prescription drugs and seniors' care.

“While Minister Ambrose was able to provide benchmarks for her progress on projects like ending prescription drug abuse and improving food labeling, she could not provide similar measures for her work with the provinces and territories,” said Canadian Doctors for Medicare chair, Monika Dutt. “Minister Ambrose assured us this morning that she continues to work alongside provinces and territories to ensure that Canadians receive the highest level of care and yet we find ourselves without a Health Accord, or any other mechanism for ensuring equitable access to timely, quality health care across Canada.”

In her speech, Ambrose highlighted her recently launched innovation committee, suggesting that good governments listen to innovators and leaders in the field. Yet, the committee created by Minister Ambrose is noticeably lacking representation from the majority of Canadian provinces and territories. “The Provinces have already come together to form the Health Care Innovations Working Group, why create another table with uneven representation, rather then coming to the group that the provinces have already collaboratively established?” Dr. Dutt asked.

Whether it’s a national seniors’ strategy or a national pharmaceutical strategy, we need clear leadership from the Federal Government. It's time for Minister Ambrose to set some benchmarks for demonstrating her commitment to collaborating to improve Canadian health care.

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Katie Raso

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