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Provincial, territorial health and wellness ministers meet on strategies to improve health-care

Mari-Len De   


Oct. 9, 2013 — Provincial and territorial health and wellness ministers are collaborating more than ever to improve the health of all Canadians by strengthening the quality of health-care delivery and focusing on preventative care. Ministers have expressed commitment to improving care for patients and their families, based on evidence and best value for taxpayer dollars.

"Provincial and territorial ministers are firmly united in their
commitment to strengthening health-care for patients and families across
Canada," said Deb Matthews, Ontario's Minister of Health and Long-Term
Care, who chaired the meeting among the ministers. "Canadians deserve to
know that they can access the health-care they need, where they need it
and when they need it. As our populations age and demands on
health-care resources grow, it is all the more critical that we come
together to share our successes and plan for the future."


are delivering on the ambitious work of Premiers through the Council of
the Federation Health Care Innovation Working Group:

  • In
    recognition of Canada's aging population and growing health-care
    demands, ministers discussed the need for a better continuum of care to
    support seniors aging at home and in the community. They discussed the
    need to ensure seniors have high-quality supports to avoid
    hospitalization or return home after hospitalization, as well as the
    importance of proper diagnosis and high quality care for seniors with
  • With appropriateness of care continuing to be a
    priority for all provinces and territories, ministers are reviewing
    health-care services, with an initial focus on appropriate use of MRIs
    and CT scans. "We want to do less of the things that do not improve
    outcomes so we can do more of the things that do improve outcomes for
    people, based on the evidence," said Matthews.   
  • Ministers
    continue their work regarding pharmaceuticals to achieve better value
    for money. They renewed their commitment to a pan‐Canadian pricing
    alliance for brand name drugs to reduce costs. They also agreed to
    complete an international review of generic drug pricing in order to
    identify the next ten drugs for future price reductions. This will add
    to the estimated $100 million in savings that were achieved for six
    generic drugs earlier this year.

At the meeting, ministers confirmed that they will continue to work collaboratively with health care providers on these issues.

and territories continue to support a joint focus on preventative care
for Canadians. The ministers examined options for further collaboration
in the areas of health promotion and healthy living, including reducing
sodium in the food supply and increasing access to nutrition information
in restaurants to help Canadians make informed choices when dining out.

ministers conferred on what additional steps need to be taken to ensure
more advance notification of drug shortages from manufacturers along
with reporting requirements for supply interruptions.

the challenges and serious health consequences that mental illness
poses for many Canadians, ministers affirmed the importance of an
integrated and coordinated approach involving all sectors, to improve
mental health services. They agreed to continue to share best practices
toward early intervention, treatment and supports and convene a meeting
of employers in the coming months.

Nationally, there is
considerable variation in the diseases infants are screened for at
birth. Today, ministers agreed to form a short-term working group to
share research and best practices and explore areas of pan-Canadian
cooperation for newborn screening.

The ministers acknowledged the
good work that Canadian Blood Services is doing in delivering
high-quality blood products. Provinces and territories agreed that a
strengthened accountability framework is a critical next step for
ensuring value for money between Canadian Blood Services and the
provincial and territorial governments. Ministers acknowledged the
importance of federal engagement and urge the federal government to
maintain funding for the national organ and tissue donation and
transplantation program.

The ministers also agreed to continue
developing common indicators and sharing best practices on improving the
quality of care and the performance of health systems.

Health Minister Réjean Hébert indicated that although Québec's
government shares the general objectives of the other provincial and
territorial governments regarding the health issues discussed during the
meeting, it intends, regarding the work that will be undertaken, to
limit its participation to sharing information and best practice.

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