NDP Health Critic Lorraine Michael (MHA, St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi) says the provincial government should take very seriously a report released today by the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association calling for a comprehensive, transparent, non-partisan review of the province’s health facilities and services. It summarizes a forum hosted by the NLMA with MUN’s Harris Centre and Centre for Applied Health Research last October.
The NDP has been calling for such a review for years. “Healthcare is the largest single expenditure in our provincial budget and the most important service government is responsible for delivering,” Michael said.
“It is vital that we ensure we are spending our healthcare dollars wisely while achieving good outcomes for the people of this province. The NLMA has created Terms of Reference that government could use for the long-overdue comprehensive review of acute care facilities and services. This could serve eventually as a model for a system-wide review.”
Michael notes a review must also consider the changes needed in primary and community health services and social determinants of health. She concurs with the NLMA document that past politicians have not had the courage to make and support the necessary changes.
“The previous Tory government and the current Liberals tinkered around the edges of issues and made ad hoc cuts to save money without a vision for an improved health care system or demonstrated concern for the negative impacts of their decisions,” she said.
“We need, as the NLMA says, an independent review conducted with complete transparency. Let’s take the politics out of health care reform and engage the health professionals, patients, unions, advocacy groups, academics, and municipalities to shape a health care system that meets our changing needs.”