Health Council Of Canada Launches Forum Where All Canadians Can Speak Up

February 25, 2009 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

When it comes to health care, are Canadians getting value for money? Do we care? We should. Health care now accounts for nearly 40% of provincial budgets.

Pressure continues for governments to spend more at a time when families tighten their belts and the global economic uncertainty deepens. We all need to be assured of the value we receive when health care continues to command such a large share of Canada’s resources. Last year, we spent $172 billion on health care.

It’s time to ask: Are we funding the right things? Are we getting the best value for the money we already spend? Are we investing in the programs and services that will yield the greatest health improvements for Canadians? We must figure out a way to make our money go further without compromising the quality of care Canadians have come to expect and need.

Today, the Council launched a forum designed to engage Canadians in a national dialogue about value for money, to open a conversation about how to get ‘the biggest bang for the buck’ in health care. Dietitians of Canada is one of the collaborating stakeholders involved in this initiative.

Canadians can join this important discussion at where they’ll find the Council’s paper, Value for Money: Making Canadian Health Care Stronger, released today, as well as an array of interactive tools. Visitors will be able to debate the issues, post comments, take part in surveys, watch videos, listen to podcasts, read what other people are saying, and more.

Contrary to popular belief, aging and population growth are not the major causes of the rise in Canada’s health care spending. In reality, half of the increase can be directly attributed to the accelerating use of the system. Canadians are now using the system more than ever. We have to understand why, question whether we’re getting healthier as a result, and come up with new ideas for improving efficiency.

“This is NOT a discussion about cutbacks or service reductions,” said Dr. Danielle Martin, a Councillor with the Health Council of Canada. “Value for money is about keeping our health care system alive and well. It’s about maintaining and enhancing the system by making smart spending choices.”

Some of those choices will be tough ones, Dr. Martin acknowledged.

For example, are we using resources well when we see a specialist instead of a family doctor who could provide the same service? Or when we use a doctor instead of a nurse or nutritionist who could be just as helpful? Are we using services well when cataract surgery is performed on people with little loss of vision? What would be the impact of more prevention and health promotion? How could we spend our dollars smarter?

The Council is urging everyone to get involved – from health research groups, delivery organizations, and advocacy associations to frontline health professionals and the general public. It will capture and summarize the views, research, and positions of those who participate in the national dialogue, and present the findings back to the public and their governments.

In addition, the Council will release a series of follow-up papers on specific aspects of value for money throughout the year.

View the Canada Values Health Video

Listen to the Canada Values Health Podcasts

About the Health Council of Canada

Created by the 2003First Ministers’ Accord on Health Care Renewal, The Health Council of Canada is mandated to monitor and report on the progress of health care renewal in Canada. Councillors were appointed by the participating provinces, territories and the Government of Canada.

Dietitians Canada



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