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Seizing the opportunities helps create the right road map

A note from CMA President Laurent Marcoux to Nova Scotia Physician. As printed in the March 2018 issue of doctorsNS.

Our health-care system’s challenges make headlines every day. Wait times. Growing frustrations. Our population is aging, and older Canadians are often not getting proper care. The Canadian health-care system was created and built at a very different time. The challenges we now face require us to think about how we will provide high-quality care for the future.

While I could spend many more words on what doesn’t work with our health-care system, let’s change the discussion and explore the possibilities for improvement. We see new and innovative ways to deliver care every day.

Take, for example, the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s Care by Design program. With the support of an active and engaged group of physicians, pharmacists, nurses, paramedics and health-care professionals, Care by Design is able to offer long-term care residents access to high-quality, consistent primary health care. Results have shown a 36% reduction in transfer from long-term care to the emergency department – an ordeal that can be stressful for patients and their families, and can also tie up valuable resources.

This is only one example, but it is a powerful demonstration of how collaboration between governments, health providers and patients can yield significant improvements in care.

At the Canadian Medical Association, we identified the need for a national seniors’ strategy three years ago. Our award-winning platform, Demand a Plan, has more than 60,000 supporters. Our recommendations to the federal government are being carefully considered as it studies the feasibility of a national approach to seniors’ care.

Every day, we look for opportunities and examples to showcase what is possible to achieve better care for our aging population. Let’s highlight successes like Care by Design more frequently so we can tackle what seems like an insurmountable – but ultimately very simple – task: delivering high-quality care to Canada’s seniors.

Dr. Laurent Marcoux

President, Canadian Medical Association

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