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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Health Council of Canada encouraged by Senate Committee's health accord report

We welcome the recent report issued by the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. The committee reviewed the remaining work that is needed to meet the goals of the 10-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care. The resulting document, Time for Transformative Change, released last week, is a comprehensive report with 46 recommendations outlining how to continue to ensure progress is made in reforming Canada's health care system.

The report emphasized the need for government action including federal leadership in guiding and promoting reform across jurisdictions. It also recommended the use of federal funding to support the necessary changes in how health services are delivered by the provinces and territories.

The Health Council is pleased to see that many of its recommendations made it into the final report such as the need for measurable goals, timetables and public reporting employed by governments to improve our health care system.  As the Health Council’s Progress Report 2011 noted, where jurisdictions have comprehensive strategies for reform that include clear targets and measurable goals, better progress was achieved. Wait times is just such an example.

“Accountability supported by strong public reporting is essential to achieve transformative change in health care,” says Dr. Jack Kitts, Chair of the Health Council of Canada. “By establishing solid governance structures, measurable goals and clear targets as suggested by the Senators, we can gauge our successes, highlight areas in need of attention and charge those responsible to make the improvements.”

The senate report echoes many of the observations and recommendations contained in the Health Council’s recent work, including primary health care reform and the importance of patient engagement. The report also stresses the need to focus on health promotion and chronic disease prevention, which is a crucial shift to thinking about the factors that materially affect our health rather than just the acute care system.

In the coming months, the Health Council will continue to report on many key areas from the 10-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care. Reports on home care and chronic disease self-management will be released in April and May respectively, followed by our annual Progress Report 2012 in June.

“We look forward to providing our perspective in the areas the Senate has indicated as important in achieving the progress envisioned in the 10-Year plan. We will do this by continuing to highlight innovative practices from across the country,” said John G. Abbott, CEO of the Health Council of Canada. “Focusing on innovative practices allows the Health Council to share what is working and encourage the adoption of practices that have been demonstrated to strengthen Canada’s health care system.”

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