Doctors concerned as side deals end prospect of national Health Accord
Doctors across the country were disappointed to hear of new side deals reached between the federal government and three provinces last Friday have now ended any prospect of a truly national Heath Accord. Ontario, Quebec and Alberta all signed on to bilateral deals, leaving Manitoba as the last jurisdiction not to have signed a bilateral deal with Ottawa.
Since the breakdown in Health Accord negations in December, the federal government has been negotiating with provinces and territories separately, making it difficult to determine if the deals will lead to consistent results across the country.
“A major role of a national Health Accord is to set national standards. It is difficult to ensure that people across the country will receive equitable levels of care when the system is further fragmented by a variety of healthcare agreements,” said Dr. Monika Dutt, chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare.
Canadian Doctors for Medicare expressed concerns earlier this year that side deals like these would degrade the final accord, and see the results as a huge missed opportunity. A renegotiated Health Accord would be an opportunity for governments to reenergize the Canadian health care system and to explore reform options that would not only improve the level of care across the country but also ensure that funds were used wisely.
Doctors noted that a national, collaborative approach is an effective way to advance many key aspects of healthcare. “To respond to the changing demographics in our country we need a national strategy for senior care. A national pharmacare program would improve access to medications for millions. Lastly, a mental health plan would draw on the best models across the country. These kinds of changes would mean real improvement to Canada’s medicare system and benefit all Canadians,” added Dr. Dutt.
Canadian Doctors for Medicare is a national, membership-based organization that provides a voice for Canadian doctors who want to strengthen and improve Canada's universal health care system in a way that benefits all Canadians.