‘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) mentioned 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, instructed 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 instances 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 mentioned.

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 these items are usually not regular issues for Canadians to expertise so we’re at a vital level proper now. If you cannot entry companies, 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 mentioned.

“We’re all skilled to take care of acuity. We’re all skilled to take care of vital conditions. However what’s taking place now goes far past something we have skilled earlier than,” Lafontaine mentioned.

Lafontaine’s feedback got here after the CMA launched a brand new report Thursday warning that all provincial and territorial techniques are grappling with related issues — particularly staffing.

The issue is actually one in every of human sources, he mentioned, and there are usually not sufficient medical doctors and nurses out there to workers present services, not to mention serve a rising inhabitants.

One among 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 might additionally make it simpler for foreign-trained medical doctors to maneuver in regards to the nation.

He mentioned the present system — by which every province has its personal licensing system — is a barrier.

A nationwide ‘human sources plan’ for well being care

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

“We have to rethink the concept that we will keep it up with 13 separate well being techniques that do not collaborate with one another at a very deep degree,” he mentioned.

He mentioned the federal authorities should convene a gathering with provincial and territorial governments to develop some kind of “well being human sources plan” to handle staffing gaps and different urgent points.

Past taking part in some kind of coordinating position, Lafontaine mentioned, Ottawa also needs to pump more cash into the system.

“We undoubtedly do want extra sources within the system to maneuver ahead. However what’s vital is the place these sources go,” he mentioned, 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 recommended more cash will stream to provincial coffers within the coming months — however he has mentioned 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 take care of 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 problem of cumbersome licensing for medical doctors skilled exterior the nation has come to a head lately in a number of provinces.

Final month, Ontario Well being Minister Sylvia Jones directed the province’s regulatory schools to develop plans to extra shortly 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 conflict of their nation.

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