CMA Ends Annual Meeting with Call for a More Patient-Centred, Sustainable and Accountable Health Care System

OTTAWA, August 26. 2010 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - As the 143rd Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Medical Association wrapped up in Niagara Falls, Ontario, yesterday physician delegates from across the country put forward important new ideas and directions to transform our health care system and give it a patient-centred approach.

"Delegates sent clear direction that we must, and will, work together across our profession and most importantly with our patients to confront the challenges facing the health care system," said outgoing Canadian Medical Association President, Dr. Anne Doig.

The meeting also included direction that reporting and accountability at all levels in the health care system must be improved. Specifically, delegates stated that accountability must be an important element in the negotiations to renew the soon-to-expire federal/provincial/territorial agreement on funding for health care.

"We need a heightened commitment to improve public reporting at a coordinated federal-provincial-territorial level," added Dr. Doig. "Our system also desperately needs improved accountability and reporting within the health care system." This message was echoed at the meeting by the Auditor General of Canada, Sheila Fraser.

In closing the meeting, incoming President Dr. Jeff Turnbull served notice that sustainability of the health care system would be a major focus for his term.

"Sustainability isn't just about money. It's about what that money gets us," said Dr. Turnbull. "It's about providing universal access to high quality health care, delivered in a cost-effective manner and with an emphasis on evidence and outcomes. There is no value in having financial sustainability if we don't use those resources to ensure and improve the overall quality of the system itself."

"I believe that a transformed health care system can foster innovation, be accountable and provide value for money."

CMA delegates also passed many motions aimed at improving the health of Canadians. One such motion calls for a ban on mixed-martial arts, or ultimate, fighting.

"These battles, with opponents punching and kicking each other into submission, can lead to serious injury and even death," said Dr. Doig. "One of my most important responsibilities as a physician is to advocate for good health and healthy Canadians and this activity is a serious threat to that."

The 144th Annual Meeting of General Council will take place in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador from Aug. 21-24, 2011.