The brand new president of the Canadian Medical Affiliation (CMA) stated Wednesday he fears the nation’s fragile health-care system will deteriorate additional with out an injection of money — and a plan to extend the quantity of medical doctors and different well being care professionals.
Dr. Alika Lafontaine, an anesthesiologist in Grande Prairie, Alta., and the group’s first Indigenous president, advised CBC Information that Canada’s well being care is in “dire” straits, with high quality care severely restricted in some elements of the nation.
He pointed to current emergency room closures in Ottawa, southwestern Ontario, Quebec and different locales and eye-popping ER wait times in major cities like Toronto and Montreal as horrible precedents undermining the longstanding Canadian promise of well timed entry to look after all who want it.
“We have been saying for some time that we’re involved about collapse. And in some locations, collapse has already occurred,” Lafontaine stated.
“All of these items will not be regular issues for Canadians to expertise so we’re at a vital level proper now. If you cannot entry providers, that actually does imply collapse.”
Medical doctors on the frontlines are at a breaking level and have been for the higher a part of two-and-a-half years, he stated.
“We’re all educated to take care of acuity. We’re all educated to take care of vital conditions. However what’s occurring now goes far past something we have skilled earlier than,” Lafontaine stated.
Lafontaine’s feedback got here after the CMA launched a brand new report Thursday warning that all provincial and territorial programs are grappling with related issues — particularly staffing.
The issue is basically one in every of human sources, he stated, and there will not be sufficient medical doctors and nurses obtainable to workers present services, not to mention serve a rising inhabitants.
Considered one of Lafontaine’s proposed options is to introduce what he calls “pan-national licensure,” which might permit physicians to work throughout the nation with fewer regulatory burdens.
This kind of portability would give medical doctors extra flexibility to practise the place they’re wanted most. It may additionally make it simpler for foreign-trained medical doctors to maneuver concerning the nation.
He stated the present system — wherein every province has its personal licensing system — is a barrier.
A nationwide ‘human sources plan’ for well being care
A nationwide doctor licence may present a single, streamlined course of for verifying the credentials of internationally educated medical doctors, he stated.
“We have to rethink the concept that we will keep on with 13 separate well being programs that do not collaborate with one another at a extremely deep degree,” he stated.
He stated the federal authorities should convene a gathering with provincial and territorial governments to develop some kind of “well being human sources plan” to deal with staffing gaps and different urgent points.
Past taking part in some kind of coordinating function, Lafontaine stated, Ottawa must also pump more cash into the system.
“We undoubtedly do want extra sources within the system to maneuver ahead. However what’s essential is the place these sources go,” he stated, including previous federal efforts to particularly earmark cash for psychological well being or homecare for the aged have been profitable.
Federal Well being Minister Jean-Yves Duclos has prompt more cash will circulate to provincial coffers within the coming months — however he has stated it will not be a clean cheque.
Duclos already has laid out Ottawa’s prime 5 priorities for brand new health-care spending: an finish to service backlogs, a rise within the variety of health-care staff, improved entry to main care, a greater system of long-term care and residential look after seniors, extra sources for psychological well being and substance abuse, and a renewed push to digitize well being information and facilitate extra digital care.
The difficulty of cumbersome licensing for medical doctors educated exterior the nation has come to a head not too long ago in a number of provinces.
Final month, Ontario Well being Minister Sylvia Jones directed the province’s regulatory schools to develop plans to extra rapidly register internationally educated medical doctors and nurses.
Different provinces, together with Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, are working to streamline their procedures as they welcome Ukrainian medical doctors fleeing the battle of their nation.