[Jul 27, 2013 09:51 AM]
We, the undersigned organizations, made up of doctors, nurses, health care workers and providers; health committees, community organizations, patient groups, civil society, and organized labour, are deeply concerned about the expiration of the 2004 Canada Health Accord.
In 2014, the current Health Care Accord — the deal that sets funding and health care service delivery agreements between the federal, provincial and territorial governments — expires and must be renegotiated.
Past accords set valuable benchmarks for progress. In the immediate years following their signing, we saw wait times significantly decrease in key areas.
However, the federal government has thus far refused to negotiate a new health accord.
Without a new accord in 2014, the federal government will determine funding for health care according to each province’s economic growth.
This means that Nova Scotia will lose more than $900 million in funding over the next decade. With Nova Scotia’s aging population, these cuts will be disastrous for our seniors and families.
After talks with Nova Scotia’s minister of health, we know that the provincial government is frustrated with the federal government’s offloading of services to the provinces and territories with no additional support or resources. In the health care field, this has included long-term care beds for veterans, health care for refugees and RCMP health-care benefits. This is leaving provinces across the country struggling to meet the needs of their residents.
By refusing to negotiate a new accord, the federal government is abdicating its responsibility in health care and turning its back on the provinces as they struggle to pick up the pieces.
Canadians need national leadership on health care. The 2014 Health Care Accord negotiations should be used to strengthen and expand medicare, and recommit to the principles of the Canada Health Act.
At the Council of the Federation gathering this week, the premiers are meeting for the last time before the expiration of the Canada Health Accord in 2014.
This is the perfect, and possibly last, opportunity to come together to protect public health care.
We are calling on Premier Darrell Dexter to stand up for the future of our province’s health care. We’re urging him to raise the health accord as a formal agenda item at the Council of the Federation and to join with the premiers and collectively demand that Prime Minister Stephen Harper commit to a new accord.
We, and the thousands of members and patients we represent, call on the premier to protect public health care for all Nova Scotians.
This open letter was signed by Lee Seymour, The Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network; Joan Jessome, NSGEU; Danny Cavanaugh, CUPE Nova Scotia; Les Holloway, CAW; Janet Hazelton, NSNU; Angela Giles, Council of Canadians; Kathy Blois, The Federation of Community Health Clinics of Nova Scotia; Gillian Zubizarreta, The Halifax Refugee Clinic; Pamela Harrison, Transition House Association of Nova Scotia; Monika Dutt, Canadian Doctors for Medicare; David LeBlanc, Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, Local 446; Lisa Buchanan, Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project; Nick Stark, Canadian Federation of Students; Loretta Melanson, N.S. Service Employees International Union Local 2; Carolyn Whiteway, Atlantic Council for International Cooperation; Michael Bradfield, The Face of Poverty Consultation; Charlene Gagnon, Stepping Stone; Margaret Casey, North End Community Health Clinic.