Improving the public health system means improving seniors' care

HEU representatives were in Victoria this past weekend as part of a federal NDP roundtable discussion with health policy experts and Medicare advocates. The roundtable was timed to correspond with the premiers’ meeting in Victoria to discuss different approaches to health system reform. 

“Too many governments across Canada are focusing on the myth of unsustainability,” says HEU secretary business manager Bonnie Pearson. 

“The simple fact is that our public health care system is sustainable, and we need to focus on how to make it better. 

“We heard from experts who showed us once again that while health care costs are rising, they are not a runaway train,” said Pearson.

 “In fact, the data shows the economy is keeping pace with the health cost impacts of aging, inflation, and population growth. These forces are simply not overwhelming the health system, contrary to what those calling for more privatized funding would have us believe.”

 Pearson says that premiers who want to improve the public health care system should focus on seniors’ care. 

“HEU has always called for increased funding for the long-term care and home care sector, and to better integrate this sector into the system with doctors and hospitals,” said Pearson. “And we heard yet again this weekend that this is top of mind with other experts and advocates as well.” 

This also corresponds with a new study out today from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, written by former HEU Research & Policy Director Marcy Cohen, titled “Beyond the Hospital Walls.” 

This study looks at BC Liberal policies brought in to deal with hospital overcrowding, and suggests the policies fail to address the root problem, which is the lack of accessible, effective services in the long term care and community sector for people with chronic illnesses, such as the frail elderly or mental health patients.

The study looks at international evidence and finds successful health care system reforms have focussed on integrating hospitals with doctors, long term care, home care, and community care. These systems have prioritized collaboration across the sectors, coordination of services, reducing the inappropriate use of high-cost emergency and in-patient hospital services, and improving patient experience. 

Link to federal NDP roundable 

Link to new CCPA paper