NEWS

Federal health care innovation panel finds Canada's medicare system aging badly

07/17/2015 03:47 EDT | Updated 07/17/2016 05:59 EDT
OTTAWA - Canada's medicare system is aging badly, a federal panel said Friday.

The Advisory Panel on Health Care Innovation has released a new report saying there is "no doubt" a major renovation of the medicare system is overdue.

The panel was struck last June by Health Minister Rona Ambrose to help find ways to reduce health spending and improve accessibility to care.

The project was chaired by Dr. David Naylor, a physician, researcher and past president of the University of Toronto.

"We have a good health care system that is excellent and innovative in spots but is not as good as it could or should be," he said in an interview. "That's in spite of the fact we have fabulous talent in the system."

Naylor said the challenge is that Canada has a health care architecture that is decade's old.

He said international assessments suggest the country is "losing ground."

"The overall view conveyed to us by a panel of international experts with whom we met was that there was a sense of Canada having moved from the strong position to one that was more average," said Naylor in a phone interview. "I don't think Canadians should be satisfied with average."

The panel also found the inability of federal, provincial and territorial governments to collaborate has slowed recommendations issued by previous panels and experts.

Naylor said his team is hopeful the panel's work will provide a new model to facilitate teamwork that will move health care forward.

The Health minister's office issued a terse response saying it will review the report.

"To date, our government has increased health care transfers to the provinces to record levels," said the emailed statement.

Dr. Hedy Fry, the federal Liberal health critic, said the government's failure to participate in the Council of the Federation meetings in St. John's, N.L., this week highlights the lack of co-operation.

"We have been asking the prime minister to meet with the premiers. He hasn't," Fry said.

Canada needs to tap into the health knowledge that is out there, said the Liberal critic.

"We have it all there and we don't use it," said Fry.

Follow @KKirkup on Twitter

MORE:cpNews