Medical News

Iranian health care workers must be able to treat their patients: CMA

CMA News - Thu, 11/17/2022 - 04:00

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) condemns the pervasive violation of the independence and security of the Iranian medical community in the weeks following the death of Iranian protestor Mahsa Amini. We join the international community in denouncing the human rights violations against women that led to Amini’s death.

The CMA stands in solidarity with our Iranian colleagues who have been at the forefront of ensuing protests and who have been subject to violence and detainment. The ability of physicians and other health care workers to treat their patients in accordance with medical standards and international laws must be protected. 

Dr. Alika Lafontaine
President, Canadian Medical Association

Categories: Medical News

Health ministers’ meeting falls short of immediate action to address health system crisis: CMA

CMA News - Tue, 11/08/2022 - 04:00

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is disappointed that the first in-person meeting of Canada’s health ministers in four years has ended without arriving at immediate, meaningful solutions to address the concurrent, ongoing crises across our 13 Provincial and Territorial health systems.

We are encouraged that the federal government is prepared to increase health care investments through the Canada Health Transfer, something we have advocated for years. We support the call for the creation of a robust, national health data system. Sharing data and solutions is critical for quality improvement and essential to address ongoing stresses on health systems like COVID-19. We cannot address the collapse happening in disparate parts of our 13 health care systems without detailed, timely, data-driven understanding of existing challenges. We are also encouraged by the steps taken by some provinces and territories exploring regional licensure and team-based care.

Despite health ministers leaving Vancouver this week without an agreement between the federal and provincial/territorial governments regarding funding and without the announcement of a commitment to collaborate on solutions to address critical issues plaguing our health systems, the CMA and other health stakeholders will continue to advocate for actions that will stabilize health systems and ease the painful challenges that providers and patients are struggling with. Unless we work through funding discussions toward common priorities and actionable solutions, burned out health care workers, delayed health services and overwhelmed emergency departments will continue to be a reality for providers and patients across Canada.

Funding continues to be the dominant topic between governments. While increased funding is certainly needed, it cannot remain the sole focus. The CMA will continue to urge governments to collaborate across jurisdictional silos to get to the root of our health care system challenges. We can only transform health systems if we rebuild the foundations they are built upon.

The deterioration of our 13 provincial and territorial health systems continues. Health care providers are burning out at an accelerated rate. Patients continue to suffer with delayed access to the care they need.

We can overcome our shared crises with collaborative solutions. We have already presented a prescription for what needs to be done. We look to governments to act and renew our hope that change is coming.

Dr. Alika Lafontaine
CMA President

Categories: Medical News

Health care providers to Canadian governments: this is our prescription for hope

CMA News - Fri, 11/04/2022 - 05:00

Canada’s health ministers have a golden opportunity next week to bring hope to Canadians and to 1.3 million health care workers from coast to coast to coast by charting a clear path of tangible action to help stabilize and begin rebuilding our struggling health systems. Patients and caregivers continue to suffer as health care providers burn out and leave their professions, wait lists grow and emergency departments close due to staff shortages.

With all 14 federal, provincial and territorial health ministers expected to meet in Vancouver, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) and HealthCareCAN are calling on governments to put aside jurisdictional and partisan arguments, find common priorities and work toward solving the health system crisis that is affecting people in every part of the country. 

Today, the CMA, CNA and HealthCareCAN are providing governments with a prescription for hope, including steps that should be taken immediately to begin stabilizing the health system to support workers in their efforts to care for the people of Canada, specifically:

  • provide retention incentives, reduce administrative burden and strengthen mental health and well-being supports for health care workers;
  • implement a pan-Canadian health workforce planning strategy to gather workforce data and develop solutions to tackle the health workforce shortage and address the factors hindering recruitment and retention;
  • scale up models of care to ensure health care workers are enabled to work to their full scope of practice;
  • implement pan-Canadian licensure to allow physicians to care for patients where they are needed most;
  • invest in the physical and digital infrastructure needed to facilitate integrated, team-based care;
  • improve access to primary care by creating a virtual care strategy integrated with comprehensive patient care and by boosting innovation in the system; and 
  • streamline the immigration and credentialing/licensing processes to help internationally educated health professionals get into the system to fill vacancies.

The CMA, CNA and HealthCareCAN are adamant that governments must take the opportunity next week to address serious health system challenges and ensure that health care providers and organizations can continue delivering the critical health services that people across Canada need. Short- and long-term solutions must be developed to meaningfully address this crisis. The CMA, CNA and HealthCareCAN are ready to engage with health ministers immediately. 

Quotes: 

“Canadians are beginning to question if their health systems will be there when they need them. 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. Our prescription for hope means action to achieve meaningful change. Our various health systems are challenged in similar ways across the country; now is the time for collaboration, communication, and coordinated action to begin overcoming those shared challenges.”

- Dr. Alika Lafontaine, President, CMA

“Canada’s health care system is failing people in Canada, and it is no longer working the way it should be. Nursing shortages and the health workforce crisis are having detrimental consequences to the health system. People are quickly losing confidence and they are concerned they won’t be able to access critical health services when they need it. Solving this crisis requires a pan-Canadian approach and collaboration by all levels of government. We need structural reforms and urgent, concrete actions if we are to have a vibrant and sustainable health-care system into the future.” 

- Dr. Sylvain Brousseau, President, CNA

“Imagine a hospital teeming with patients, waiting in their rooms and in hallways with no health care providers to care for them. That is becoming Canada’s sad reality and patients and health care providers across the country are looking to their political leaders for urgent action to shore up healthcare and health research in Canada. The gathering of the nation’s health ministers next week in Vancouver is a critical opportunity to demonstrate leadership, bring forward strategic action and chart a collaborative course to build a system that works for providers, patients and Canada.”

- Paul-Émile Cloutier, President & CEO, HealthCareCAN

Categories: Medical News

CMA eager to collaborate for the benefit of health care workers

CMA News - Wed, 11/02/2022 - 05:00

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) welcomes the creation of the Coalition for Action for Health Workers and is pleased to see that our call for federal leadership in health care has been heard. We look forward to collaborating with health care stakeholders to develop tangible steps to improving the health system for the benefit of patients and providers.

Our priority remains the stabilization of the health care system to support all health care workers who have exhausted themselves since the pandemic began. Canadian physicians are burning out at an alarming rate; 53% of physicians who responded to the CMA’s 2021 National Physician Health Survey reported experiencing high levels of burnout. Improving timely access to health care for all people in this country must remain at the forefront of the Coalition’s objectives and work.

These are challenges occurring everywhere in Canada and no one jurisdiction can manage them alone. We must seize this opportunity to work together and reimagine Canada’s health system. The CMA reiterates its commitment to finding concrete and lasting solutions that will have tangible impacts of health care workers and thus, all Canadians.

Dr. Alika Lafontaine
CMA President

Categories: Medical News

Canada needs Bold Choices in Health Care: CMA hosts discussion with former premiers this week

CMA News - Mon, 10/24/2022 - 05:00

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark, former N.S. premier Stephen McNeil and political columnist Chantal Hébert to join CMA’s Health Summit Series: Bold Choices in Health Care on Wednesday, Oct. 26

Urgent action is needed to stabilize and rebuild Canada’s devastated health systems, and the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) will kickstart a critical discussion about how to move forward with the first installment of its Health Summit Series: Bold Choices in Health Care.

“Canadians have sadly come to expect that they simply won’t be able to access timely health care — to a family physician, an emergency department or a needed surgery — while physicians and other providers are rapidly burning out,” says CMA president Dr. Alika Lafontaine. “We are well past the point of simply bandaging our health systems’ many wounds. We need to have a national conversation about the bold choices needed to stabilize health care in the short term and rebuild it in the long term so that patients can get the care they need in a timely fashion and providers can work in a stable, supportive environment.”

The first session will be held virtually on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 5:30 p.m. ET and will focus on health system funding, featuring guest speakers Christy Clark, former premier of British Columbia; Stephen McNeil, former premier of Nova Scotia; and Chantal Hébert, political columnist. Dr. Lafontaine will moderate the discussion, which will also feature physician and patient voices.

Registration for attendees is now open here. Media interested in attending are asked to email mediainquiries@cma.ca.

In the coming weeks, the CMA will host additional installments of Health Summit Series: Bold Choices in Health Care to further the discussion of stabilizing and rebuilding health systems.

Categories: Medical News

Congratulations Dr. Katharine Smart, one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women

CMA News - Wed, 10/19/2022 - 05:00

On behalf of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), I am thrilled to congratulate CMA Past-President Dr. Katharine Smart for being named a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner in the Women of Courage category by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN). 

Dr. Smart has cemented a reputation as a fearless, trusted and authentic voice advocating for Canadian physicians, the medical profession and patients. Her tenure as CMA president through 2021-22 confronted some of the most difficult challenges health care workers have ever faced in Canada. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic that devastated health systems, the accelerating health workforce crisis and the rise of health disinformation, Dr. Smart spoke with compassion, clarity and thoughtfulness to bring Canadian physicians, patients and decision-makers together to better understand the issues on a path toward solutions. 

I’m proud to call Dr. Smart a friend, mentor and colleague. Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition.

Dr. Alika Lafontaine, CMA President

Categories: Medical News

Quebec physicians committed to building a more ‘human’ health care system in wake of 2022 provincial election

CMA News - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 05:00

On the day after the provincial election in Quebec, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) acknowledges the re-election of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) and reiterates the urgent need to restructure the health care system to provide a healthier workplace for clinicians and more accessible care for patients.

Earlier this year, the CMA’s National Physician Health Survey revealed that 60% of physicians in Quebec experienced burnout — 7% above the national average. With health care providers working through a major crisis for more than two years now, supporting their mental health should be a priority for the new government. Addressing this issue would benefit both health care workers and patients. 

The CMA also believes the government needs to work more closely with health care professionals and honour its commitment to meet the public’s current and future needs by investing in a fundamental transformation of the system.  

The CMA is ready and willing to help the government facilitate this transformation and contribute to building a more resilient system for health care professionals and patients alike.

Categories: Medical News

CMA reflects on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

CMA News - Fri, 09/30/2022 - 05:00

Today is National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, an opportunity to reflect on the impact of colonization and its policies on First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples historically and today.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) acknowledges the severe and tragic impact that colonization has had — and continues to have — on generations of Indigenous Peoples. We are actively working across our organization to deepen our understanding of the damage wrought by residential schools, racism, discriminatory medical policies and many other instruments of colonization and oppression.

The medical profession has contributed to this harm. The CMA is committed to walking the path of truth and reconciliation, confronting our shared history, and addressing contemporary instruments of colonization and oppression. A future where Indigenous patients can receive the highest levels of care, in a respectful and safe environment, is what we mean when declaring our commitment to promoting inclusive health care for all.

The CMA continues to learn and take tangible action towards reconciliation, including amplifying Indigenous voices and working in allyship with Indigenous Peoples to affect change. 

In September 2022, the CMA convened the Guiding Circle, a group of First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals with broad expertise who are collaborating with and advising the CMA on ways the organization can champion improving the health outcomes of Indigenous Peoples. We are also committed to supporting employees on their personal journey of truth and reconciliation by offering a range of learning and engagement opportunities focused on truth and reconciliation.

In understanding the impacts of colonization, we gain a deeper understanding of Canadian history and our place in it. Together we can a build a more inclusive Canada and more responsive, patient-centred health systems for all. We invite you to make time today and throughout the year to walk the path of truth and reconciliation alongside Indigenous Peoples.

They will lead us where we need to go. 

Dr. Alika Lafontaine
President, Canadian Medical Association

Categories: Medical News

Review of pandemic response welcomed, but immediate focus must be on current system failures: CMA

CMA News - Fri, 09/23/2022 - 05:00

While the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) agrees with Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos that a broad review of Canada’s COVID-19 pandemic response is important, the organization urges the government to put immediate focus and attention on stabilizing and rebuilding the country’s health care system. 

“Our health systems are unable to care for Canadians today,” says Dr. Alika Lafontaine, president of the CMA. “Learning from the past is incredibly important, but that must come after we deal with the collective crises facing our 13 provincial and territorial health systems. Delaying immediate action to mitigate today’s crises means they continue to accelerate and worsen. We must remember that the burden of crises is shouldered by patients and providers in the health system; delaying action is unacceptable.” 

A CMA-commissioned report released this week highlighted common ground where provincial/territorial and federal governments can work together to address the fundamental issues affecting the system overall. In response to the issues identified in this report, the CMA strongly recommends: 

  • increase the Canada Health Transfer to better support provincial/territorial health systems,
  • establish a pan-Canadian licensure model to enable physician mobility,
  • scale up collaborative primary care to foster greater collaboration among health workers and improve access to care for patients,
  • create a national health human resources strategy to plan for recruitment and retention of health workers.

"The solutions to our health care crisis do not live in the silos that we’ve created across 13 provincial/territorial jurisdictions,” says Dr. Lafontaine. “It is time to start working together to break down those barriers, act on solutions and optimize our health system. We are at an important crossroad and we need the political will to do the work.” 
 

Categories: Medical News

In-depth analysis of health budgets finds common ground; CMA calls for governments to come together to rebuild health care

CMA News - Wed, 09/21/2022 - 05:00

While governments continue to debate how to fund health care in Canada, an in-depth analysis of federal, provincial and territorial budgets illustrates that there are areas of common interest that could serve as a starting point to rebuilding health systems in Canada.

The analysis shows that all 13 provinces and territories are prioritizing health care, budgeting an average increase of 4.4% in health spending, five times higher than the overall average budget increase. Prepared by Deloitte for the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), the report also found that governments across Canada have prioritized funding and resources in common areas such as mental health, increasing system capacity and care for older adults. The report, Measures to Address Health System Challenges: Review of Canadian, Provincial and Territorial 2022 Budgets, highlights potential funding and reform measures related to rebuilding health care. 

“As Canadians from coast to coast to coast go without timely access to health care and exhausted providers struggle to keep up with demand, governments continue to debate who’s responsible for paying for health systems,” says Dr. Alika Lafontaine, CMA president. “What’s being lost in this discussion is that health care is about people: the people who need care and those who provide it. This new analysis shows that governments have more in common with respect to their health system goals than they may realize. We believe it’s time for the federal and provincial/territorial governments to work together to redefine health care in Canada.”

Unprecedented health crises across Canada today include overcrowded and closed emergency departments, a shortage of physicians, nurses and other health providers, collapsing primary care, and a backlog of procedures. It is in that context that the CMA is calling on the federal, provincial and territorial governments to convene an emergency meeting and to work together to create a long-term sustainable path to stabilize health systems and define a new future of health care by assessing how it should be funded and how progress and results can be measured. 

“We must use the lessons from our past to work toward a new era of intergovernmental collaboration to resolve health system issues once and for all,” adds Dr. Lafontaine. “Simply injecting more money into broken systems will not resolve the concurrent and growing crises we’re seeing. To effectively coordinate and collaborate across the 13 provincial and territorial health systems, we need to see political will. We have shared problems; we should seek shared solutions. What we decide today will not only determine the sustainability of health systems, but their very survival.”

This fall, the CMA is convening key stakeholders and the medical profession for discussions on mapping out the future of health care in Canada. Solutions are available now to address immediate and longer-term pressures within the health system. The CMA remains committed to improving the health care system and ensuring Canadians can access the care they need. 
 

Categories: Medical News

2022 Quebec elections: Prioritize health professionals

CMA News - Mon, 09/12/2022 - 05:00

With election season in full swing, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), the Fédération des médecins omnipraticiens du Québec (FMOQ) and the Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec (FMSQ) are joining together to call on all parties to formally commit to restructuring the Quebec healthcare system in order to provide a healthy workplace for clinicians.

According to the latest CMA National Physician Health Survey, 60% of doctors in Quebec responded that they were experiencing burnout—that’s 7% above the national average. This statistic alone not only illustrates just how serious this issue is, it also speaks to the fact that doctors are not invincible. Just like their patients, they too often face major health challenges of their own. That’s why it’s so important for the next government to prioritize healthcare.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020, Quebec’s healthcare system presented a number of challenges. Unsurprisingly, the pandemic only worsened these issues, putting greater and greater pressure on doctors and other clinicians.

Over the past two years, the healthcare system has been in the spotlight, and it is of utmost importance that it take centre stage in this election campaign. Let’s see this election for what it is: a unique opportunity for the next government to strengthen our healthcare system once and for all.

Categories: Medical News

2022 Quebec elections: Prioritize health professionals

CMA News - Mon, 09/12/2022 - 05:00

With election season in full swing, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), the Fédération des médecins omnipraticiens du Québec (FMOQ) and the Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec (FMSQ) are joining together to call on all parties to formally commit to restructuring the Quebec healthcare system in order to provide a healthy workplace for clinicians.

According to the latest CMA National Physician Health Survey, 60% of doctors in Quebec responded that they were experiencing burnout—that’s 7% above the national average. This statistic alone not only illustrates just how serious this issue is, it also speaks to the fact that doctors are not invincible. Just like their patients, they too often face major health challenges of their own. That’s why it’s so important for the next government to prioritize healthcare.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020, Quebec’s healthcare system presented a number of challenges. Unsurprisingly, the pandemic only worsened these issues, putting greater and greater pressure on doctors and other clinicians.

Over the past two years, the healthcare system has been in the spotlight, and it is of utmost importance that it take centre stage in this election campaign. Let’s see this election for what it is: a unique opportunity for the next government to strengthen our healthcare system once and for all.

Categories: Medical News

Canadian Medical Association, The Canadian Press partner to strengthen health journalism across the country

CMA News - Tue, 09/06/2022 - 05:00

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and The Canadian Press (CP) have partnered on a new initiative to strengthen health journalism across Canada. 

Under this program, the CMA will fund the creation of three reporting positions at CP for a period of three years. These positions will focus on health and health care and tell stories on how this impacts Canadians. CP will have complete autonomy in hiring and assigning the new reporters.

“Fact-based health coverage has never mattered more, and media organizations are increasingly looking to The Canadian Press to fill this demand,” says Malcolm Kirk, CP president. “This initiative will allow us to provide a range of stories across the entire spectrum of health and health care, and how these issues intersect with the lives of Canadians.”  

“The COVID-19 pandemic illustrated how critical it is that Canadians have access to accurate, well-researched, and trusted health news reporting,” said Dr. Alika Lafontaine, CMA president. “With the rise in health misinformation and disinformation, the CMA believes in supporting strong health journalism in this country and we are thrilled at the opportunity to partner with The Canadian Press to achieve this.”

The CMA recognizes the critical role of journalism in advancing debate and policy decisions. For that reason, it is committed to contributing to the quality and the quantity of health system news and information for all Canadians. We intend to do so by contributing directly to media, developing a network of medical influencers and collaborating on other forms of media storytelling to engage Canadians on rebuilding our health system.
 

Categories: Medical News

National survey shows physician workforce in despair: CMA

CMA News - Thu, 08/25/2022 - 05:00

As emergency departments buckle under pressure due to staffing shortages and Canadians struggle to find the care they need in a timely manner, a newly released survey illustrates the despair Canadian physicians are experiencing amidst the biggest health care crisis of our times.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has released the full results of its 2021 National Physician Health Survey. Conducted in November 2021, the survey shows a physician workforce that is struggling under the weight of an under-resourced health system and pandemic challenges.

Key findings include:

  • Nearly half of respondents (48%) screened positive for depression, up significantly since the CMA's 2017 survey (33%).
  • One-quarter (25%) of physicians and residents experience severe (10%) or moderate (15%) anxiety
  • Eight in 10 (79%) physicians and medical learners score low on professional fulfillment; less than six in 10 physicians and medical learners indicate being satisfied with their career in medicine

Preliminary results released in March showed that more than half of physicians and medical learners (53%) had experienced high levels of burnout and that nearly half of respondents (49%) were considering reducing their clinical work in the next 24 months.

"Every day, we hear physicians expressing despair at the state of our health system, the strain that all health workers are facing and the fact that our patients are suffering," says Dr. Alika Lafontaine, CMA president. "Since this survey was completed, the strain on health workers has continued to grow with no signs of a break coming. Physicians need help and support so they can continue to provide quality care to patients."

The 2021 National Physician Health Survey is available here. It illustrates the many factors impacting physician health and wellness including the pandemic, increased administrative burden, lack of work-life integration, bullying and harassment in the workplace and lack of professional fulfillment.

Between October and December 2021, more than 4,100 physicians, medical residents and medical students completed the survey, up from nearly 3,000 CMA members in 2017.

Categories: Medical News

Dr. Alika Lafontaine to lead CMA in 2022-23

CMA News - Sun, 08/21/2022 - 05:00

Toronto, August 21st, 2022 – Today, Canadian Medical Association (CMA) members and delegates attending the Annual general meeting welcomed Dr. Alika Lafontaine as the organization’s 155th President. Dr. Lafontaine becomes the first indigenous President in the organization’s history. Born and raised in Treaty 4 Territory (Southern Saskatchewan), Dr. Lafontaine has Metis, Oji-Cree and Pacific Islander ancestry.

As an anesthesiologist in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Dr. Lafontaine has been using his voice to create spaces where Indigenous communities can partner with physicians, politicians and policy-makers to improve Indigenous health care. Committed to eliminating the gap in the quality of care between Indigenous and non-Indigenous patients across Canada, Dr. Lafontaine drafted and co-led a national strategy with territorial organizations representing 150 First Nations and several national health organizations. That proposal was then submitted to the federal government on behalf of those First Nations — the Indigenous Health Alliance — to advance health care transformation.

“As I take on the role of CMA president, I want my fellow physicians to know that I see their struggles and I am deeply committed to making progress toward a better future,” says Dr. Lafontaine. “Together we will rewrite the narrative of what it means to be a physician, how to better partner with patients and team-based care. We will build a future for healthcare in Canada.”

In addition to his advocacy work, Dr. Lafontaine is a seasoned advisor who has served in medical leadership positions for almost two decades, including at the Alberta Medical Association, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, HealthCareCAN and the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada.

Dr. Ross becomes president-elect

As part of the AGM, Dr. Kathleen Ross was also confirmed as the CMA’s president-elect for 2023-24. Dr. Kathleen Ross is a Family Physician in Coquitlam and New Westminster with clinical work in community primary care, obstetrics and surgical assist work, including cardiovascular surgery, at Royal Columbian Hospital. She will start her mandate as CMA president in August 2023. 

Dr. Katharine Smart completes her presidency

Dr. Katharine Smart completes her term as CMA president after a year spent advocating for the rebuilding of the healthcare system after the pandemic accentuated existing structural issues faced by physicians and patients in Canada. “The time is now to work together towards a better healthcare system for all. Solutions exist and will take courage and will to implement. The past year has shown us all that collaboration across levels of governments and organizations is necessary to create a functional and sustainable health care system that can deliver for Canadians.”

 

Categories: Medical News