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Open letter to the President and President Elect of the CMA

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Dear Dr. Smart and Dr. Lafontaine,

Firstly, let us congratulate you, Dr. Smart, on your advocacy for Canadians and Canadian physicians over the past year.  You have spoken well and kindly, placing the issues besetting health care in Canada before Canadians and the Federal government with admirable clarity.

And having known you for many years Dr. Lafontaine, we have great confidence that you will continue this essential advocacy.

However, we have – through experience – the certain knowledge that advocacy alone is insufficient to make the necessary changes in the plethora of our Canadian health care systems, and we discuss this in our more complete letter that is appended.

We have journeyed through distressingly dysfunctional times in the evolution of our many systems, and watched the continued degradation of health care delivery and health outcomes to their current disastrous state – a crisis, as you have recently made clear – with sadness and trepidation. 

It is obvious then, that the current Canadian arrangements for health care have outlived their usefulness, despite the unceasing dedication of thousands of intelligent, caring and hardworking physicians to prop up these failed systems; and despite the excellence of the advice offered by the CMA and the Provincial/Territorial Medical Associations.

We therefore see that the active engagement of all Canadian physicians is essential to effect the necessary changes. 

In short, the essential changes as pre-requisites to the full adoption of CMA’s Impact 2040 include:

  • a collaborative approach to the design, governance and management of health care at every level;
  • predictable and unfettered resources from all levels of government through legislative action; 
  • an amendment to the Canada Health Act to mandate collaboration as a requirement for Federal funding.

The only way to achieve fundamental, sustainable and lasting change is by engaging with every Canadian physician – as was so well demonstrated in BC at a provincial level in the mid-90s.

As is clear to all, we face bigger challenges than the woes of our current systems and we have addressed these in our appended letter to you.  Canadian physicians have a unique responsibility to address the fundamental and underlying principles of health, equity and life fulfillment, and this extends far beyond our geographic shores.

Our collective responsibility is to garner the energy of this current crisis to become a world leader in health and human care. 

Canada and CMA are both poised on the knife edge of health care disintegration; and by the same token, have the capacity to address and change this if we wish to.  The alternative is to simply succumb to the all-to-prevalent ennui and to “rearrange the deck chairs” once again as our highly vaunted and valued health care monopsony founders and sinks.

We would be pleased to discuss the way forward with the CMA Board at your earliest convenience.

Dr. Granger Avery CM, FRRMS, MBBS.

Dr. Bob Woollard MD, CCFP, FCFP, LM.

Dr. John Guilfoyle MB, BAO, BCh, FCFP.

CMA - The Next Right Thing.pdf45.5 KB

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