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Canadians to Governments: Come Together Now on National Vision for the Future of Health Care – News Release

Ottawa, July 21, 2011 – According to a new poll conducted for the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), an overwhelming majority of Canadians say the country’s health care system must be transformed to better meet patient needs.

The poll, conducted just days before the beginning of the annual Council of the Federation meeting in Vancouver, found 89 per cent of Canadians believe the federal government should play a leading role in health care transformation, while (92 per cent) agreed that a First Ministers meeting to deal with the challenges of the health care system should be called as soon as possible. These findings rest on a firm belief (91 per cent agree) that Canada’s health care system is in need of transformation to better meet the needs of all Canadians.

“Canada’s health care system has a sound foundation that has served patients well in the past, but Canadians see the system is in dire need of leadership, creative direction and innovative action so that it can evolve to better meet the needs of Canadians in the future,” said Judith Shamian, CNA President. “The time to build the next generation is now.”

Nine in ten (87 per cent) also agree that any changes already underway at the regional level should be guided by a common policy so that all Canadians have equitable access to the same quality of health and health care services. A significant majority of respondents (65 per cent) also consider it very important that the health care system have national standards for quality. Only 10 per cent of those polled believe that the system now does a very good job in this area.

“Canadians’ strong desire for a pan-Canadian health care system based on national standards couldn’t be more clear,” said Dr. Jeff Turnbull, CMA President. “This is the strongest indication yet that Canadians want their health care system fixed, they want it fixed now, and they want governments to lead the way.”

The poll also found that 90 per cent of Canadians believe that changes to the system must build on the five principles of the Canada Health Act – universality, accessibility, portability, comprehensiveness, and publicly administered. But Canadians also feel the Act should go beyond hospital and physician services, with 86 per cent agreeing that these principles should apply to other aspects of health care such as prescription drugs, home care, and physiotherapy. The online poll of 1,018 adults was conducted by Ipsos Reid on July 18 and 19 and has an estimated margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians. Founded in 1867, CMA’s mission is to serve and unite the physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and health care. The CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing over 74,000 of Canada’s physicians and comprising 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and 51 national medical organizations.

The Canadian Nurses Association is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada. A federation of 11 provincial and territorial nursing associations and colleges representing 143,843 registered nurses, CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.


For more information:

Kate Headley
Canadian Nurses Association
Tel: 800-361-8404 / 613-237-2133 ext. 561
Cell: 613-697-7507

Lucie Boileau
Canadian Medical Association
Tel: 800-663-7336 / 613-731-8610 ext. 1266
Cell: 613-447-0866