Prime Minister Paul Martin today set out the next steps in the Liberal government’s plan to support Canadian families with a bold new health platform, including a Canada Health Care Guarantee; 1,000 new family doctors; a new National Cancer Strategy; and a Canadian Mental Health Commission.
“Canadian families have a right to a health care system that puts their needs first. They have a right to quality care in a timely manner by ensuring that critical wait times are reduced. They have a right to a health care system that is accountable to them. Above all, they have a right to care based on need not ability to pay,” Prime Minister Martin said.
That’s exactly the kind of health care system that the Liberal government will deliver.
Building on our strong record of getting results for Canadian families through collaboration with the provinces and territories, we will ensure Canadian families have access to the quality health care they need, when they need it.
The Canada Health Care Guarantee
Working with patients, health care providers and governments, a new Liberal government will act to ensure Canadians get the care they need, where they live, within medically-accepted timeframes.
An additional $300 million will further increase capacity in Canadian teaching hospitals to reduce wait times, and a $50 million investment in the Canada Health Infoway will accelerate the development of registries, booking systems and electronic health records to aid in wait list management. A further $10 million invested through the Canadian Institutes for Health Research will develop a national research agenda for the development of future wait-times benchmarks.
As well, an investment of $10 million will help foster patient-management training programs for health professionals, particularly physicians, aimed at wait list management and helping patients navigate the health system.
We will also invest $75 million to create a Health Care Guarantee Fund to assist patients and a family member with travel and accommodation costs to receive treatment in a public facility in another province in order for them to obtain timely care.
1,000 New Family Doctors
To help ensure Canadian families are able to access a family physician and get the care they need, we will invest $100 million over the next five years to bring on stream 1,000 new family doctors.
We will achieve this goal by accelerating our efforts to help access, train and place international medical graduates who wish to work in Canada, with a special focus on family medicine.
We will also make investments to increase the number of residency places in family medicine and public health – with special attention to Aboriginal students and those pursuing remote and rural practice.
Finally, we will provide further support for current federally-funded family medicine initiatives, such as the Family Medicine Interest Group, as well as curriculum development for inter-disciplinary collaboration, cross-professional learning and training. This approach has been identified as holding particular promise in the area of family medicine.
A National Cancer Strategy
A new Liberal government will invest $300 million over five years in a bold, new National Cancer Strategy that will marshal new investments and cutting-edge research partners.
Among the new investments in the Strategy is $125 million to create the new Terry Fox Research Institute in Vancouver – a new centre of excellence in cancer research.
To further assist national information and knowledge transfer coordination efforts – and to ensure the sharing of best practices and leading edge techniques in the treatment of Canadians suffering from cancer – we will invest $100 million in additional support for the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control (CSCC). We will also invest $50 million for discovery-based and translational cancer research by leading-edge Canadian organizations, to help more quickly convert research knowledge into clinical practice.
We will ensure that Canada continues to attract and retain leading cancer researchers by investing $25 million to establish Terry Fox Cancer Research Chairs at Canadian universities. This will ensure we are able to can tap into leading-edge advances from around the world to enhance our understanding of cancer – its origins, diagnosis, treatment and cure.
These new measures will build upon the Liberal government’s October 2005 announcement of $59.5 million over five years for the Canadian Strategy on Cancer Control as part of a $300-million, five-year Integrated Strategy on Healthy Living and Chronic Disease.
A Canadian Mental Health Commission
A new Liberal government will establish a Canadian Mental Health Commission to enable greater collaboration among governments and stakeholders in order to better address mental health and mental illness in Canada.
Once established the Commission will:
- provide leadership to make mental health a long-term high priority for governments;
- facilitate the exchange of research findings and best practices between governments and stakeholders;
- work to reduce the fragmentation of mental health and mental illness policies and programs in Canada; and
- develop strategies to help increase Canadians’ understanding of mental health and mental illness and reduce stigma.
Taken together, these measures build on the Liberal government’s achievements in protecting Canada’s publicly-funded health care system and reducing wait times for important diagnostics and treatments, including the $41.3 billion 10-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care and the Public Health Care Protection Initiative to strengthen the ability of the publicly funded health care system to meet Canadians’ needs and expectations.