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CMA and NBMS welcome statement by federal minister: Time to talk about health care


PRESS RELEASE
For immediate distribution

Ottawa, April 11, 2013 - The presidents of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and the New Brunswick Medical Society (NBMS) today welcomed comments by Keith Ashfield, the federal fisheries and oceans minister and regional minister for New Brunswick, who is calling for a national discussion on health care.

“Canadians have told their elected representatives that health care is their top priority,” said Dr. Anna Reid, CMA president. “They expect politicians at all levels to work together with health care providers and key stakeholders to reform the system to meet today’s needs. To do this we would need to have the federal, provincial and territorial health ministers come together to discuss meaningful transformation of the health care system, something that has not occurred in a long while. Improving medicare for Canadians should be a national imperative.”

“Recent provincial budget cuts in New Brunswick have left New Brunswick’s doctors looking for a long-term plan,” said Dr. Robert Desjardins, president of the New Brunswick Medical Society. “We have exploding patient demand due to long-term demographic factors and we’ve seen short-term, short-sighted responses. Partnership and dialogue are the only way to transformative solutions.”

Both presidents noted Minister Ashfield’s observations on the difficulty in providing high quality health care to New Brunswick’s aging population and the growing share of provincial dollars spent on health.

“There needs to be less time spent looking for reasons not to transform health care and more time getting on with it,” Dr. Reid said.

“The CMA and NBMS are aligned in our concrete proposals to improve health care right now,” said Dr. Desjardins. “To avoid short-term cuts to patient care like the impulsive Medicare cap, we need a long-term plan to focus on improved primary and home care, greater use of electronic medical records, and better collaboration among health professionals.”

A study last year by the Council of the Federation found that New Brunswick will receive $714 million less in health transfers from the federal government over the next 10 years under the new health transfer arrangement that takes effect in 2014.

“New Brunswick’s recent budget cut and capped medical services payments that cover patient care and planned for a zero increase in health spending, something not seen in the province in almost 20 years,” said Dr. Desjardins.

Dr. Reid said: “The federal government is focused on creating a strong economy, but that can’t be achieved if we don’t have a healthy population. The two go hand in hand. What is needed now is vision, collaboration, leadership and action from everyone involved - we are calling on provincial and federal governments to engage.”

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Canadian Medical Association
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians. Founded in 1867, the CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing more than 77,000 of Canada’s physicians and comprising 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and 51 national medical organizations. CMA’s mission is to serve and unite the physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and health care.

New Brunswick Medical Society
Founded in 1867, the New Brunswick Medical Society (NBMS) is the professional association representing all physicians in New Brunswick. It is a provincial division of the
Canadian Medical Association. Its twin goals are to represent and serve physicians, and advocate for the health of New Brunswickers.

For more information:
Lucie Boileau, Senior Advisor, Communications and Public Outreach
Canadian Medical Association
lucie.boileau@cma.ca
Tel.: 800-663-7336 / 613-731-8610 ext. 1266
Cell.: 613-447-0866

Andrew MacLean
New Brunswick Medical Society
amaclean@nbms.nb.ca
Tel: 506 478 2436