Healthcare reform to address needs of Canadians not service providers

Treat Canadians as “healthcare citizens”: CARP submission to federal health panel


December 8, 2014

TORONTO – CARP is calling for a full system re-design of the healthcare system to provide a comprehensive 360 degrees of care and that treats Canadians as “healthcare citizens” – with the right to expect timely and appropriate care and equal treatment regardless of age, income and postal code.

CARP’s submission to the Advisory Panel on Health Innovation calls on the government to prioritize the needs of the healthcare citizen rather than the needs of the service provider.

Currently, the system is designed around the priorities of the service providers rather than the people it is supposed to serve, creating a fragmented and inefficient agglomeration of silos within silos. While many will welcome the mandate of the Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation to seek improvements in the quality and accessibility of care, Canadians do not want more pilot projects that add more elements, complexity and costs to the current $215 billion healthcare spending with limited sustained impact. As taxpaying healthcare citizens, Canadians want a system that wraps fully around their needs, enabling them to maintain their health and well-being.

A comprehensive health and wellness system would comprise and provide for:

  • social determinants of health,
  • prevention of illness,
  • medical treatment and care,
  • caregiver support, and
  • end of life care.

The healthcare system has failed to meet our post-acute and chronic care needs, leaving many people stuck between institutions or running from pillar to post to seek care for themselves or their loved ones. We need to break down the silos in the system built around the service providers so that people get the care they need, when and where they need it, not where it is convenient for the system to provide it.

“Why can’t hospitals ensure they restore people before releasing them home instead of placing them in ALC beds where they languish and deteriorate? Hospitals saying it’s not in their mandate is not an acceptable answer.

“Why can’t long-term care be delivered in homes and in the community rather than have us wait for more nursing homes to be built? Why can’t Canadians be guaranteed palliative care regardless of postal code? The healthcare system needs to start prioritizing its citizens”   – Susan Eng, VP Advocacy, CARP

I see first-hand how important it is to for us to treat the whole person. I hear it from my patients and I heard it from the thousands of Ontarians I have consulted with throughout the province.  Ensuring that people get the right care at the right time – is not just about how we deliver health care, but also about addressing poverty, housing, healthy living, advanced care planning and end of life choices – all elements within CARP’s call for 360 degrees of care and a necessary system re-design to deliver it. It’s time for policy makers and political leaders to make this a reality”, said Dr. Samir K. Sinha, Director of Geriatrics, Mount Sinai and the University Health Network Hospitals, Provincial Lead Ontario’s Seniors Strategy

CARP’s submission reminds government that healthcare is a social contract with its citizens which must uphold the values described in the Canada Health Act: to protect, promote, and restore the physical and mental well-being of residents of Canada and facilitate reasonable access to health services without financial or other barriers. This means that Canadians should be able to expect

  • national standards of quality care and timely access,
  • care responsive to need,
  • sustained funding,
  • value for money, and
  • system overhaul to reallocate resources.

Healthcare remains the highest priority for Canadians, and especially as they age, Canadians are calling for immediate change.

CARP is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to advocating for a New Vision of Aging for Canada, social change that will bring financial security, equitable access to health care and freedom from discrimination. CARP seeks to ensure that the marketplace serves the needs and expectations of our generation and provides value-added benefits, products and services to our members. Through our network of chapters across Canada, CARP is dedicated to building a sense of community and shared values among our members in support of CARP’s mission.

For further information, please contact:

Sarah Park   416.607.2471
Director, Communications
[email protected]

Michael Nicin   416.607.2479
Director of Policy
[email protected]

Anna Sotnykova  416.607.2475
Media & Communications Coordinator
[email protected]