The Health Action Lobby (HEAL), a coalition of 33 national health and consumer groups, is pleased to support the First Ministers’ Health Accord, and recognizes that it is a start.

“But, does it go far enough?” questions Pamela Fralick, HEAL’s co-chair. “The real test of this agreement will be whether health services are more accessible. Canadians will only know if the governments got it right when they see improvements. While HEAL is encouraged with the funding for an increased continuum of care - covering home care, supports for family caregivers, pharmacare, and specific public health needs, we are concerned that this agreement has not given enough financial support for the current system.”

HEAL also applauds the investment of $1.5 billion in diagnostic equipment, $500 million to research hospitals, and $600 million to health information systems and information technology. However, without more investment in health human resources, these amounts will do little to improve access to necessary services. We need both the tools and the staff to make the system work effectively and efficiently.

“HEAL also looks forward to active participation in the proposed Health Council that will have the mandate to monitor the system and report on its performance. To truly have sustainability, there must also be accountability. We need an appropriate framework and mechanisms to ensure accountability to Canadians for our health system. The Health Council should provide the forum for health care providers and the public to have meaningful input regarding the functioning of the system,” notes Gaston Levac, HEAL co-chair.

Canadians deserve timely access to quality health services. HEAL’s 33 national member Associations and their provincial and territorial affiliates are committed to working with the First Ministers, in the interest of the health care needs of all Canadians, to implement this accord and help find solutions for our Canadian health care system.

HEAL was formed in 1991 by a group of associations and organizations dedicated to protecting and strengthening Canada’s health system. Its 33 member organizations represent more than half a million providers and consumers of health care.

For more information, contact the co-chairs at their organizations:

Pamela C. Fralick
Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Physiotherapy Association
(416) 932-1888, ext. 14
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Gaston Levac
President
Canadian College of Health Service Executives
(613) 235-7218 ext 24
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