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Doctors, nurses, advocates call on governments to address health-care crisis

Health organizations provide elected officials with a ‘prescription for hope’
In this Monday, July 8, 2019 photo, a cardiologist at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago gives a man a cardiovascular screening. (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky)

Associations representing Canada’s doctors, nursesand other health providers are calling on governments to work together to solve the health-care crisis that is affecting people across the country.

The Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Nurses Association and HealthCareCAN, an association representing health organizations and hospitals, have issued a list of steps governments should take to fix the country’s health-care system.

The “prescription for hope” list released Friday includes creating a pan-Canadian licensing model to allow doctors to work anywhere in the country, strengthening mental health and well-being supports for health-care workers, helping internationally trained health professionals get licensed to fill vacancies and introducing a national workforce planning strategy.

Canadian Medical Association president Alika Lafontaine said health-care systems across the country are facing similar challenges, and governments should collaborate to address these challenges.

“Canadians are beginning to question if their health systems will be there when they need them,” Lafontaine said.

“Health-care workers and patients are united in calling on governments to take the steps necessary to stabilize and rebuild our health systems to ensure their survival.”

Canadian Nurses Association president Sylvain Brousseau said nurse shortages and other workforce issues are having a severe impact on the health-care system and government should act urgently and introduce structural reforms before people lose trust in the system.

“Canada’s health-care system is failing people in Canada, and it is no longer working the way it should be,” Brousseau said.

“People are quickly losing confidence and they are concerned they won’t be able to access critical health services when they need it.”

The associations’ calls come ahead of a meeting of Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial health ministers in Vancouver next week.

The meeting comes at a time when the health-care system is facing unprecedented challenges with emergency department closures and staff shortages reported across the country.

—Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press

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