In responding to today’s federal budget, members of the Health Action Lobby (HEAL) welcomed the federal government’s investment in health care to address the sustainability of our health system, supported by long-term fiscal commitments. “This increased funding will help to address some of the severe difficulties Canadians are experiencing in accessing the health system,” says Pamela Fralick, HEAL Co-Chair. “Further this health care system of the future must respond to the needs of Canadians, providing a seamless continuum of care.”
HEAL, a coalition of 33 health and consumer organizations, has been calling on the government to make a significant investment in health care annually and to develop an escalator mechanism to ensure funding for the future. “The establishment of a dedicated health transfer and the increase in funding for the system over the next five years starts to address this need,” notes Gaston Levac HEAL Co-Chair. Similarly, HEAL welcomes the funding for the establishment of the Health Council. “To truly have sustainability, there must also be accountability. We look forward to working with the federal government in the establishment of an effective and relevant Health Council,” notes Pamela Fralick.
HEAL also welcomes the federal funding for renewal, including a focus on primary health care reform, home care and catastrophic drug coverage. The targeted funding for research and innovation, technology development and assessment, and diagnostic and medical equipment are absolutely needed for the future development of the system. Finally, HEAL supports the new funding targeted for the environment, children and families. This can only contribute to a healthier society.
However, HEAL has concerns in three areas.
- Funding levels: While the injection of new funds is welcomed, two questions still remain - is the amount provided sufficient, and will this cash injection ensure timely access to health care services?
- Health Human Resources: HEAL welcomes the funding announced for health human resources planning. However the budget fails to address current shortages. “If there aren’t enough people providing care, Canadians won’t be able to access all of the services they need,” notes Gaston Levac.
- Public Health: Although this budget announced a new immunization strategy, we were looking for a stronger commitment to health promotion and disease prevention.
HEAL looks forward to working with governments and other stakeholders to implement the much needed renewal in our health system.
HEAL was formed in 1991 by a group of associations and organizations dedicated to protecting and strengthening Canada’s health system. HEAL is a coalition of national 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. 214
Canadian College of Health Service Executives
(613) 235-7218 ext 24