‘It is a disaster’: Head of medical affiliation warns that the health-care system faces ‘collapse’

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 docs and different well being care professionals.

Dr. Alika Lafontaine, an anesthesiologist in Grande Prairie, Alta., and the group’s first Indigenous president, informed 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 latest emergency room closures in Ottawa, southwestern Ontario, Quebec and different locales and eye-popping ER wait occasions in main cities like Toronto and Montreal as horrible precedents undermining the longstanding Canadian promise of well timed entry to take care of 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.

A man wearing a suit and patterned tie stands, smiling, in front of a building.
Dr. Alika Lafontaine, the brand new president of the Canadian Medical Affiliation (CMA), was born and raised in Treaty 4 Territory in Saskatchewan. (Submitted by Canadian Medical Affiliation)

“All of this stuff aren’t regular issues for Canadians to expertise so we’re at a essential level proper now. If you cannot entry companies, that actually does imply collapse.”

Docs 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 skilled to take care of acuity. We’re all skilled to take care of essential conditions. However what’s taking place 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 methods are grappling with related issues — particularly staffing.

The issue is actually considered one of human assets, he stated, and there aren’t sufficient docs and nurses out there to employees current services, not to mention serve a rising inhabitants.

One in all Lafontaine’s proposed options is to introduce what he calls “pan-national licensure,” which might enable physicians to work throughout the nation with fewer regulatory burdens.

This type of portability would give docs extra flexibility to practise the place they’re wanted most. It might additionally make it simpler for foreign-trained docs to maneuver concerning the nation.

He stated the present system — wherein every province has its personal licensing system — is a barrier.

A nationwide ‘human assets plan’ for well being care

A nationwide doctor licence might present a single, streamlined course of for verifying the credentials of internationally skilled docs, he stated.

“We have to rethink the concept we are able to keep on with 13 separate well being methods 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 type of “well being human assets plan” to handle staffing gaps and different urgent points.

Past taking part in some type of coordinating function, Lafontaine stated, Ottawa must also pump more cash into the system.

“We positively do want extra assets within the system to maneuver ahead. However what’s essential is the place these assets 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 advised more cash will move 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 spanking new health-care spending: an finish to service backlogs, a rise within the variety of health-care employees, improved entry to major care, a greater system of long-term care and residential take care of seniors, extra assets for psychological well being and substance abuse, and a renewed push to digitize well being knowledge and facilitate extra digital care.

The difficulty of cumbersome licensing for docs skilled exterior the nation has come to a head just lately in a number of provinces.

Final month, Ontario Well being Minister Sylvia Jones directed the province’s regulatory faculties to develop plans to extra rapidly register internationally educated docs and nurses.

Different provinces, together with Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, are working to streamline their procedures as they welcome Ukrainian docs fleeing the warfare of their nation.

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