Canadian Medical Association President Jeffrey Turnbull's Letter to CARP


Dr. Jeffrey Turnball

Dear CARP Members,

Last summer, the Canadian Medical Association laid out a vision for renewing medicare, Health Care Transformation: Change that Works, Care that Lasts. We followed that up with a national dialogue in which we asked Canadians what they expect of our country’s health care system – and what an earful we’ve received.

At public town halls from coast to coast and through our dialogue website, we’ve heard about a system that’s inefficient and uncoordinated, that revolves around the provider rather than the patient. We’ve heard heartbreaking stories about widening cracks in the social safety net, patients’ inability to pay for prescription drugs, and the terrible burden of illness on the poor.

Yet we’ve also heard ideas for improving health care – by building healthy communities, creating collaborative teams, embracing innovation and addressing chronic care needs. Though sobering, the discussion has also been constructive and we’ll be reporting publicly on what we‘ve learned.

But while our national dialogue on health care is officially drawing to a close, this doesn’t mean the conversation should end. In fact, it’s just the beginning. The CMA will continue to advocate for a transformed health care system because we believe our patients, and our country, deserve better. We also believe that a better health care system is entirely within reach. We can build the next generation of Canadian medicare, but this won’t come about without political will and leadership.

With the current Health Accord, set to expire in 2014, we now have the opportunity of a lifetime for meaningful change to the system. The federal government, as the custodian of the Canada Health Act, has a key role to play, along with the provinces and territories, in making sure the next accord includes national standards, accountability measures and puts the needs of patients and their families first.

With its incredible track record on advocacy and a membership that understands that our health care system is too important to our quality of life to let drift into mediocrity, CARP can help us get this message across. Your voices will be critical if we are to transform our health care system. Whether as health care consumers or providers, we all want the best system possible. Let’s work together to make it happen.

Jeffrey Turnbull, MD, FRCPC President

Download a PDF copy of Mr. Turnbull’s letter

Keywords: healthcare, improvement, patient, government