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CNA Pushes Federal Government for Accountable, Efficient, Quality Care – News Release

Ottawa, September 30, 2011 – Yesterday, as part of the pre-budget consultation process of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, Barb Mildon, president-elect of the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), presented a brief offering the nursing profession’s solutions for optimizing the health of our nation while improving the sustainability of Canada’s health-care system.

“To be the healthiest nation we can be, the government must prioritize health over illness, emphasize prevention over treatment and encourage health-care teams instead of individual practitioners,” said Mildon. “CNA believes a better system that works for all Canadians is achievable, but the federal government needs to be a leader of change, work collaboratively with the health-care community and make improving the health of our nation a priority solution to a robust economy.”

In its pre-budget submission, Canada’s Health Accountability Plan, CNA puts forward three recommendations based on priorities of a health system with sustainable capacity, efficient access and accountability measures:

  1. Lead the creation of a national unique identifier (NUI) for all Canadian health professionals. An NUI for Canadian health professionals would enable accurate count of health human resources, ensure robust and consistent health-care provider identification for patient electronic health records, and improve the integration of patient health information from different sources. The introduction of an NUI system would also secure valuable information about stability in the health-care workforce.
  2. Coordinate strategic priorities across national agencies to advance community-based health services such as primary care, ambulatory care and home care through research, innovation and knowledge translation. A recent Health Council of Canada report shows that 44 per cent of Canadians visited an emergency department in the past two years — more than any other country. In 2008-2009, there were 92,000 hospitalizations in Canada of patients who required home and community-based care rather than acute care. Having the capacity to deliver care in the community is a feature of an efficient health system and reduces the number of unnecessary and costly admissions and readmissions to hospital.
  3. Coordinate the creation of a comprehensive set of pan-Canadian health system indicators that demonstrate quality improvement across the continuum of care. Progress in Canada’s health-care system can be measured only with common objectives and public reporting of meaningful and comparable indicators. Currently, too many different quality indicators are in use, making it difficult to effectively monitor progress or accountability. The federal government is in a prime position to lead the creation of a comprehensive set of pan-Canadian health system indicators.

Results of the Committee’s consultations will be tabled in the House of Commons in December 2011. The recommendations made by CNA, other presenters and the Committee will be considered by the minister of finance in the development of the 2012 federal budget. CNA encourages the federal government to consider Canada’s Health Accountability Plan as a means to optimize quality and realize efficiency gains for a sustainable health system that will meet the needs of Canadians today and into the future.

Find the complete version of CNA’s pre-budget submission, Canada’s Health Accountability Plan, at www.cna-aiic.ca.

The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) 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.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Kate Headley, External Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
Telephone: 613-237-5129, ext. 561
Cell: 613-697-7507
E-mail: kheadley@cna-aiic.ca
Website: www.cna-aiic.ca