Health accord promises not being met

The Health Council of Canada, created in Dec. 2003 following the recommendations of Roy Romanow's Royal Commission on Health Care, is the agency charged with monitoring and reporting on the quality of Canadian health care. It is chaired by Michael Decter, a former Deputy Minister with Ontario.

This week the Council reported that provincial and territorial governments have not lived up to the promises they made in the health accords of 2003-04. The 2003 accord committed $36 billion in federal funds over five years, and the 2004 deal increased that amount by $41 billion over 10 years.

Only four jurisdictions made public their plans to increase the supply of health care professionals by the end of last year. Council chair Michael Decter said the focus on wait times, an issue during the recent federal election, has led politicians to forget about quality, citing "adverse patient events" and regional disparities in care It said Canadians spend an estimated 1.1 million unnecessary extra days in hospital due to such "adverse events," suggesting doing things right the first time would drastically improve wait times.

Some of the Council's key recommendations include:

To improve patient safety, make accreditation for health care facilities mandatory, a condition of public funding.
Speed up the development of electronic health records.
Strengthen legislation to ban all forms of direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs in Canada.
Create information systems that identify patients whose waits are becoming unusually long, triggering an audit.
Increase the number of inter-professional teams providing primary health care beyond the goal set out in the 2003 and 2004 agreements, which currently call for 50 per cent of residents to have 24/7 access to health care teams by 2011.
Address the needs of people without any drug coverage or without coverage that protects them from catastrophic drug costs.

The report "Health Care Renewal in Canada: Clearing the Road to Quality" is available at:

Canada Health Council


Anonymous said...

Martin gave away tens of billions for healthcare to the provinces without securing any service guarantees. Now we are reaping the whirlwind he sowed.

Anonymous said...

Will Harper meet the wait times guarantee he made during the election? It's one of his five priorities but it's going to be like wrestling a slippery eel.