The 2004 Health Accord (Sept. 16, 2004) is due to expire in 2014. One of the Accord's goals was devoted to improving access to times for healthcare for Canadians. It promised significant reductions in wait times and provided $41 billion in ongoing funding, including $5.5 billion specifically for five “priority areas”: cancer, cardiac care, diagnostic imaging, joint replacement and sight restoration.
This accord is between the federal and provincial territorial governments, then Prime Minister Paul Martin and the first ministers. It set out an extra $41.2 billion dollars over 10 years. Dedicated funding for wait time reductions, training medical professionals, expanded home care, and a national pharmaceutical strategy. There was a 6% increase in health transfer payments each year from federal tax coffers to provincial governments. When the accord expires, the concern is that there is a will to lower taxes, and a Tory majority will not keep up these amounts. Many claim we are overpaying, cite a crisis, yet call for the dismantling of the system.
Canada spent $192 billion dollars on healthcare in 2010. According to the Hill Times, who cites the CNA, there is currently a shortage of 11,000 nurses. PSWs are also in the news, they provide the most care in home care, as well as institutional settings. Their training is inadequate, if they get any training at all, and inconsistent across the nation. Some institutions require a certificate, others do not. Professional Development is optional, and retirement homes are providing more healthcare, with untrained workers, supervised by one nurse who is not present 24/7.
The government, provincially and federally, is currently more concerned with lowering taxes than with increasing services. Calls for such do not keep in mind the aging population.
It will be important that we protect our universal healthcare system in Canada, and avoid two-tier systems that the conservative right call for as they perpetuate the myth that two-tier free up the system.
April 5th, 2011 Michael McBane · Federal Election 2011, Health Care
The Federal Canada Health Act is the legal basis for our universal health system, but the Harper government is NOT enforcing Canada’s public health care law. Far from it. The Harper Conservatives are giving provinces the green light to go ahead and experiment with private, for-profit health care. Several provinces are taking him up on that by introducing for-profit hospitals and clinics. The result is patients faced with thousands of dollars in extra fees charged by doctors and surgeons for procedures that should be covered under the public health system.