Canada Healthcare November 2022-

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Flu (influenza): Get your flu shot
Canada Health Act
CIHR Dementia Research Strategy
Canada Healthcare August 2020-August 2022

13-30 January
Singh meeting with Trudeau about private health care ahead of PM’s sit-down with premiers
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says for-profit facilities will poach doctors and nurses away from understaffed hospitals
Singh said now is the time for the Liberal government to make clear that funding private health-care facilities will not improve the shortage of health-care workers Canada is facing.
While health care falls under provincial jurisdiction, Singh believes the federal government could be using the Canada Health Act more aggressively to challenge for-profit care.
Doug Ford prescribes a needed dose of private health care in Ontario
(Globe & Mail Editorial Board) …whenever the word “private” floats into the perennial debate about how to improve widespread underperformance in medicare, there’s a recoil. Ontario Premier Doug Ford encountered that knee-jerk reaction this week as he announced relatively modest reforms that would give private surgical clinics a modestly larger role in the province’s health care system. For some, the use of the word “private” anywhere near the phrase “health care” implies the start of a descent into an American mess.
Reality differs from rhetoric. Large portions of Canadian medicare have always been delivered by private entities, from doctors to pharmacies – which administered many free COVID-19 vaccines. The public pocket pays private providers. That’s the key.
Doug Ford government will give for-profit clinics bigger role in surgeries
Cataract operations, knee and hip replacements are ‘backlogging’ Ontario’s health system, says Ford
Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government is preparing to significantly ramp up the number of surgeries done in privately run for-profit clinics.
Ford and Health Minister Sylvia Jones are planning to make an announcement next week on expanding the number and range of surgeries performed in independent health facilities outside of hospitals, said a senior government official, who asked not to be named because they were laying out government plans.
For Ontario patients, the official says the move will lead to thousands more surgeries and diagnostic procedures performed each year, an immediate way to reduce wait times for such operations as cataract removals.

30 January
Canadian doctors spend millions of hours on unnecessary paperwork each year: report
Monday’s CFIB report concludes that if governments across Canada set a target to reduce physician administrative burden by 10 per cent, they could reduce fatigue and burnout, improve the quality of patient care and open the equivalent of 5.5 million patient visits a year.
(CBC) In 2019, the provincial government partnered with Doctors Nova Scotia to research physician administrative burden and how to reduce it. A new report released Monday builds on this research and draws conclusions that apply to the whole country.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business’s report, Patients Before Paperwork, shows Canadian doctors spend 18.5 million hours annually on unnecessary administrative work — the equivalent of 55.6 million patient visits.
“Health ministries across Canada are facing many complex challenges,” the report said. “A chronic shortage of health professionals, an aging population and capacity constraints all have put pressure on the health-care system and the physicians who support it.”
An Angus Reid poll from September 2022 found half of Canadians are either unable to see their family doctor within a week, or they can’t find a doctor at all.

13-25 January
Trudeau agrees to health-care meeting with premiers but ‘won’t be signing deals’
Trudeau said there are bigger issues at play, including staffing shortages, support for mental health and better data and it’s not only about money
Trudeau announced Wednesday morning he had invited premiers to Ottawa on Feb. 7 for a “working meeting.”.
‘A huge priority’: Feds aiming to ink long-term health funding deals ahead of 2023 budget
(CTV) Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc says the federal government is aiming to have long-term funding agreements inked with the provinces and territories ahead of presenting the 2023 federal budget.
LeBlanc also confirmed that the federal government is looking at both increasing the ongoing stream of funding to the provinces, known as the Canada Health Transfer (CHT), as well as looking at signing what could be 10-year agreements that would see even more federal money put into specific areas of concern and common priority.
“I don’t think we’re going to have an agreement in the next two weeks, but I hope we have an agreement that will benefit Canadians by the time we have to bring down a federal budget… So you can figure that it’s in the next two or three months that we would need to have the details of an agreement,” LeBlanc said in an interview with CTV National News Ottawa Bureau Chief Joyce Napier at the Liberal cabinet retreat in Hamilton, Ont.
Health ministers making progress on funding talks, finding common ground: Duclos
The impasse over a new federal-provincial health-care deal has broken as both sides close in on how to get better results from new spending, federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said Friday.
That includes agreeing to invest in the technology to improve digital health records and data collection, he said at a news conference in Ottawa.
Duclos said the tone and direction of the talks with the provinces has changed and improved in the last few weeks. He said the conversation about getting results is “stronger now than it used to be.”
Negotiations are in full swing for the premiers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to sit down in person in Ottawa to push through the final details, but no date has been finalized for that to happen.
It’s a complete turnaround from the fall, when a health ministers’ meeting in Vancouver in early November fell apart.
The provinces demanded significant increases to federal health transfers with no strings attached. The federal government insisted new funds would only flow with clear accountability measures attached.
‘Very constructive conversations’: Is Trudeau closer to a health deal with provinces?
In recent days, some premiers have voiced optimism about reaching a deal soon with the federal government over increasing health-care funding, something Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he still wants tied to improved outcomes before the money rolls out of Ottawa.
During his year-end interview with Chief Anchor and Senior Editor of CTV National News Omar Sachedina, Trudeau said that while the federal government was willing to send “billions more” he wouldn’t pull up a chair at the table until there’s a more concrete plan for provincial accountability.

Paul Wells comments:
In hindsight, we should have known the serious talks began as soon as everyone started saying they were over.
On Nov. 8, federal health minister Jean-Yves Duclos met his provincial counterparts in Vancouver for the first in-person meeting of federal and provincial health ministers since 2018. The meeting collapsed in acrimony. Provincial premiers blamed Duclos for refusing to talk about money. Duclos, in a cringey statement I am sure was written by a seven-staffer army of junior comms people, blamed the premiers for insisting on talking about money.
“The Premiers are preventing us from taking concrete and tangible steps that would make an immediate difference in the daily life of health workers and patients,” Duclos said. “Premiers keep insisting on money and a First Ministers’ Meeting. Once again, I will be very clear: before we start talking about the means, we need to talk about the ends. And that can only happen and continue to happen at the Health Ministers’ Table.”
Clear enough. No discussion of money before agreement on reform. And that “can only happen” among health ministers.

2022

27-31 December
Trudeau wants ‘outlines’ of a health deal before meeting with premiers
(CTV) While premiers continue to call for a meeting with the prime minister to talk about boosting federal health-care funding, Justin Trudeau says that’ll only happen “once there is the outlines of a deal.”
“Right now, they still want all this money with no accountability and no clear results. I have to say, that’s not what Canadians need. We’re going to be sending more money, but we need to see real change, real results,” Trudeau said in a year-end conversation with Chief News Anchor and Senior Editor of CTV National News Omar Sachedina, airing in full on Dec. 31.
“I look forward to sitting down with them once there is the outlines of a deal,” said the prime minister.
The premiers have been ramping up pressure for Trudeau to meet with them to discuss the federal government increasing the Canada Health Transfer—which funnels federal dollars into provincial health-care systems—to 35 per cent up from the current 22 per cent of coverage for health-care costs.
This longstanding but recently re-emphasized demand comes as hospitals and health-care facilities appear to be in crisis mode, between staffing shortages and a cold-weather surge of illnesses compounding in extended wait times and other struggles to access adequate care.

13-14 December
Provinces must commit to health-care reform, Trudeau says as health systems strain
The federal and provincial governments appear deadlocked in their negotiations on the future of health care in Canada, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s latest comments suggest he will not be the one to blink first.
In a year-end interview with The Canadian Press on Monday, Trudeau said he’s not willing to kick health-care reform down the road any further, even as provincial premiers clamour for more federal funds to bolster their ailing health systems.
“It wouldn’t be the right thing to do to just throw more money at the problem and sit back and watch the problem not get fixed because we didn’t use this moment to say, ‘No, no, no, it’s time to improve the system,’” Trudeau said.
The stalemate is happening while children’s hospitals across the country are inundated with kids suffering from respiratory diseases. In some cases, hospitals have been overwhelmed by the calamitous combination of record numbers of sick patients and critically low numbers of staff to treat them.
Trudeau says he’s not willing to kick health-care reform down the road any longer
The federal and provincial governments appear deadlocked in their negotiations on the future of health care in Canada, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s latest comments suggest he will not be the one to blink first. …
In a year-end interview with The Canadian Press on Monday, Trudeau said he’s not willing to kick health-care reform down the road any further, even as provincial premiers clamour for more federal funds to bolster their ailing health systems.
The stalemate is happening while children’s hospitals across the country are inundated with kids suffering from respiratory diseases. In some cases, hospitals have been overwhelmed by the calamitous combination of record numbers of sick patients and critically low numbers of staff to treat them.
The problem goes back to more than a year ago, when provinces first demanded a sit-down with the prime minister to talk about long-term and sustainable funding increases after pandemic strain left them with large backlogs and a burnt-out work force.
They want to see Ottawa cover 35 per cent of health-care costs across the country, up from the current 22 per cent, by increasing the Canada Health Transfer.
Trudeau told them those discussions should wait until after the pandemic but dedicated $2 billion in one-time funding to tide them over during the Omicron wave.
Hoping to attract new doctors to Canada, recruiters abroad are hobbled by licensing rules at home
With too much bureaucracy and too few residency spots, Canada is getting a global reputation as a hard place for physicians to work
(Globe & Mail) Dublin- The global competition for physicians and other health workers is laid bare at medical job fairs like this one in Dublin, where recruiters from Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador recently came to help fill gaps in their health care systems.
Nearly every exhibitor offered lucrative perks such as signing bonuses, relocation allowances and housing benefits along with help with immigration. … [Canadian] recruiters can only do so much. Canada’s system for assessing and integrating physicians who were trained outside of the country is plagued by barriers and chokepoints, and the country is increasingly losing physicians to other places as a result.
While fewer graduates of international medical programs are applying to train in Canada, nearly two-thirds of the foreign physicians who came here as immigrants aren’t practising medicine in part because of licensing hurdles.
Some 5,135 foreign doctors became permanent residents in Canada between 2015 and 2020, according to figures from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Only a portion of them, about 37 per cent, are working in their field. Those trying to find solutions to the crisis in Canadian health care say the country needs to do a better job of putting foreign physicians to work.
…the federal government just announced $90-million to expand the Foreign Credential Recognition Program with projects that streamline medical credential recognition, remove red tape or provide Canadian work experience to internationally trained health workers. …
For physicians who have already completed a residency and been licensed by another country, they can try to enter through Canada’s Practice Ready Assessment programs, which confirm their qualifications in a supervised setting and shave several years off the licensing process.
Seven provinces use a national standardized system, which requires a 12-week clinical field assessment, and assigns successful candidates to an underserved hospital or region where they work under supervision.
The problem with the Practice Ready Assessment system, however, is capacity. Nationally, the PRA programs only add about 120 foreign-trained physicians to the Canadian health work force every year, across all specialties. But some provinces are expanding their ability to add international doctors more quickly.

5 December
Government of Canada launches call for proposals to help internationally educated professionals work in Canadian healthcare
(CNW) – Canada’s healthcare sector is experiencing critical labour shortages, heightened by the pandemic, and we need qualified workers to fill these vacancies. To help address these shortages, the Government of Canada is investing in projects that will give internationally educated health professionals the support and experience needed to pursue opportunities in the areas where we need their skills most.
Today, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser, on behalf of Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, launched a call for proposals under the Foreign Credential Recognition Program. Up to $90 million will be invested in projects that will help remove barriers preventing qualified and skilled newcomers from gaining Canadian work experience in their own profession or field of study.
Eligible projects must focus on at least one of the following areas:
Reducing barriers to foreign credential recognition for internationally educated health professionals (IEHPs) by improving recognition processes, simplifying steps in credential recognition and offering increased access to practice in the field. …

1 December
Health care surpasses inflation as top national issue of concern: Nanos
With reports of hospital emergency rooms under strain and cases of flu, RSV and COVID-19 spiking across Canada, health care has surpassed inflation and jobs as the top national issue of concern, according to Nanos Research’s weekly tracking
The latest Nanos tracking shows a four-week change in the top unprompted national issue of concern – unprompted meaning the Canadians surveyed were not provided a list of issues to choose from.

30 November
Breaking the damaging cycle of persistent sleeplessness
(Global) help2sleep.ca, a sleep guidance site, cites reports from the Public Health Agency of Canada that one out of three Canadian adults between 35-64 years old are not getting enough sleep — enough being seven to nine hours if you’re between 18-64 years and seven to eight hours if you’re over 65.
Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep could be stress-related if you have difficulties at work or in your relationships. It could also be a co-morbidity with another illness, such as depression or anxiety or insomnia.
… too little sleep can have significant health ramifications. A disruptive cycle of interrupted, nights can shift your brain into overdrive, resulting in intrusive thoughts and overthinking. …restless nights are followed by days where you can’t concentrate, you have memory trouble and you’re cranky.
The health consequences of a chronic lack of sleep can be severe. It can contribute to developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, breast cancer, chronic pain and more.

23 November
Canadian health-care system struggling amid ‘multi-demic’ of flu, COVID-19 and RSV

18 November
How Canada can retain nurses amid a struggling health-care system: report
(CTV) A new report released Thursday by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU), called Sustaining Nursing in Canada, laid out a list of solutions that could help to address the shortage of nurses during this dire situation for Canada’s health care system.
Among the issues facing nurses in Canada’s health-care system today are chronic shortages, ongoing burnout, consistent overtime, poor mental health and poor working conditions, according to the report.
In order to address the issue and keep more nurses in the field, the report laid out a “multi-layered” strategy with three steps: retain and support, return and integrate, and recruit and mentor.
Solutions from the report were among the suggestions presented during the discussions between federal, provincial and territorial health ministers at a two-day meeting in Vancouver last week.

17 November
Don’t be afraid of your colonoscopy, doctors say. It could save your life
Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in Canada, but if caught early, many people have a good chance of surviving. But screening for it is key. Dr. Jill Tinmouth, lead scientist at the colorectal cancer screening program at Ontario Health and gastroenterologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, speaks with guest host Dr. Peter Lin about colorectal cancer screening.
With colon cancer being the second most common cause of cancer death in Canada, doctors say it’s an important procedure to have when necessary to catch cancer early. …research shows that when colorectal cancer is detected early, it is 90 per cent treatable, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.

8-14 November
John Ivison: Why Jean-Yves Duclos is not happy with provincial health ministers
But history suggests that the federal government will get its way, empowered by its purse
According to the health minister, he met with his provincial and territorial counterparts in good faith, hoping to conclude a deal that would see the provinces agree to pan-Canadian action on a health workforce strategy and health data sharing. On Monday, he issued a statement saying that a deal on health data would unlock an unspecified number of federal dollars to add to the Canada Health Transfer. Yet, before those discussions had concluded, the premiers issued their statement, saying that they were only interested in a First Ministers’ meeting with Justin Trudeau and an unconditional boost to the CHT that would cost Ottawa nearly $30 billion.
The fall surge of influenza, respiratory syncytial virus and COVID has created what experts are calling a “multi-demic” and some emergency rooms report seeing 80 per cent more patients than in previous years. At the same time, as anyone who has braved a hospital in recent months knows, there are acute staffing shortages, and the nurses who are there are exhausted and demoralized.
Duclos said Ottawa has two streams of funding in mind: … The second…would be related to the Canada Health Transfer, which would be increased by an unspecified amount if provinces sign on to share health data.
“In 2022, it’s not normal to still use faxes and paper forms to make pharmacists work with physicians and nurses with lab technicians. It’s not just data sharing between governments, it’s data sharing between health professionals, and about people accessing their own electronic medical records. Only one-third of Canadians have access to some part of those medical records. We want to speed up that transition and that’s why we made that a condition of receiving additional Canada health transfers.”

Provincial health ministers reject proposed federal health care funding over data collection system
Canada’s provinces and territories have rejected a proposed increase in federal health care funding, in part because Ottawa tied the offer to the creation of national human resources and data collection programs.
(Globe & Mail) The impasse emerged at a meeting of Canadian health ministers in Vancouver on Tuesday, impeding progress on co-operation between governments at a time when health care services across the country are in crisis because of understaffing, continuing waves of COVID-19 infections and other problems.
Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos had said on Monday that Ottawa was prepared to increase health care funding to provinces by an unspecified amount if they committed to a national health data system as an accountability measure. Tuesday’s agenda included two “decision items” that ministers were asked to approve: a pan-Canadian health-human-resources action plan, and a pan-Canadian health data strategy.
But at midday, with meetings still under way, Canada’s premiers issued a joint statement to say no progress had been made with the federal government. In response, Mr. Duclos backed out of a joint news conference and refused to sign a joint communiqué.
At the meeting’s conclusion, Mr. Duclos told reporters the federal, provincial and territorial governments had worked collaboratively on the two items for months, and that his counterparts had voiced no specific objections until just days earlier, when they received “marching orders by their premiers not to make further progress.”
… Several organizations, including the Canadian Medical Association, have been calling for the federal government to include pan-national licensure as part of the health-human-resources aspect of its proposal. Such a change would eliminate the need for physicians to seek new licenses when they move between provinces, allowing them to work where they want and are most needed.

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