The end of the National health Accord (DOA from the perspective of emergency medicine) signals the formal end of the role of the federal government in national health care programs.
This is regrettable and from the unique perspective of emergency medicine markedly problematic.
All of the common problems that beset emergency care delivery are national in scope and yet have common causes and a common solution.We can fix a problem ten times over (and with varying degrees of success or failure) or we can fix it once.
The federal government has to play a leadership role to prevent the balkanization of emergency health care.
The following is my letter to the Editor of the Globe and Mail on that point.
For 10 years, the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians has highlighted the problems associated with emergency-care delivery in Canada (Medicare Defenders Set To Protest As 10-year Accord Expires – March 31).These include overcrowded hospitals and resultant dysfunctional emergency departments, inconsistent reporting of patient wait times, human resources shortages leading to unexpected disruptions in ER service, a curious lack of oversight with respect to day-to-day operations of ERs and a failure to develop a true “system” of care. These problems affect, at some time or another, every province and territory.
Call us naive, but Canada’s emergency physicians believe that the solutions are within our grasp. However, without national leadership, direct oversight and meaningful accountability, Canadians will continue to be subjected to unacceptable regional variations in emergency care.
Alan Drummond, co-chair, Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians