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Canada’s nurses applaud new CMA head – News Release

Saskatoon, August 19, 2009 – The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) welcomes the appointment of Anne Doig as president of the Canadian Medical Association and applauds her call for action on introducing change to Canada’s health-care system.

The recent economic downturn has exposed cracks in the health-care system that need to be addressed without delay. CNA Chief Executive Officer Rachel Bard states, “A CMA survey this week reveals that 14 per cent of Canadians had delayed or stopped buying their prescription medications because money was too tight. This undermines the principle of accessibility in our health-care system. What good is a free diagnosis when you can’t afford the treatment?”

While CNA supports certain elements of the CMA’s Health Care Transformation agenda, such as the urgent need for a national program of universal drug coverage, electronic health records and an increase in long-term care beds, the organization urges extreme caution on initiatives that might open the door to increased private health care.

“Increased private health care will leech financial and human resources away from the universal, publicly funded single-payer system that Canadians hold dear. Improving the system from within is a better approach than offering parallel private options,” says Bard.

More can be done, for example, to introduce collaborative, team-based care across the spectrum of health-care delivery. Registered nurses have an important role to play in making the system more effective and efficient. Helping patients navigate smoothly through a complex health-care system and coordinating treatment with a number of service providers would help reduce complications and duplication of services.

The CMA has started moving in this direction. Members voted on Tuesday to work to maximize the added value that physicians bring to patient care by reducing physician involvement in services that can be more appropriately delegated to other members of the health-care team. CNA looks forward to working in collaboration with the CMA on this initiative.

CNA is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada. It is a federation of 11 provincial and territorial nursing associations and colleges representing over 135,000 registered nurses. CNA believes that the sustainability of a quality, publicly funded, not-for-profit health system rests upon a vibrant nursing workforce.

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For more information, contact:

Paul Watson, Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
613-237-2159 x283
613-697-7507 mobile
E-mail: pwatson@cna-aiic.ca