Date Published: 21 August 2006

Canada moves forward with health *guarantees*

Health News from Canada
Health News from Canada.

The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health, outlined today to the Canadian Medical Association Annual General Meeting that patient waiting times guarantees are achievable given the progress provinces and territories have made in reducing wait times.

" Many provinces and territories are already guaranteeing timely care in some form or other," said Minister Clement.

" Given all the work provinces and territories are doing, I believe the next logical step is a commitment to put guarantees in place as part of a patient-centred approach."

Minister Clement outlined that a core element to patient wait times guarantees is ensuring there is recourse. Recourse should be fair and equitable, flexible to respond to individual circumstances and be publicly funded. It also provides patients access to alternative sources of care by another provider or another jurisdiction if medically acceptable wait times cannot be met. He noted that such successful system-supported recourse mechanisms would minimize the need for patients to turn to the legal system for recourse.

Minister Clement highlighted the progress provinces and territories are making in meeting their wait time goals and setting up systems to ensure patients receive care in a medically acceptable time. He stressed that collaborative action must continue between all governments and health care providers to guarantee timely access to quality care, including continued efforts to enhance research, technology, and health human resources.

To show Canadians how their health leaders are working together to reduce and better manage wait times, the government has proposed a federal-provincial-territorial Health Ministers "Success Conference" to take place this fall.

Minister Clement highlighted that provinces and territories can make progress by next year and by 2008 towards establishing wait times guarantees.

Source: Dept Health, Canada.

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