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Canadian health professions “never closer”: Simpson

The health professions in Canada “have never been closer” according to Canadian Medical Association (CMA) President Chris Simpson.

Simpson made the comment during a panel discussion on the role of the professions in leading change in health care, during the “Managing a Canadian Healthcare Strategy” conference sponsored by Queen’s University and held in Toronto.

The discussion revealed a common perspective between representatives from the CMA, Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), Canadian Pharmacists Association, and Canadian Physiotherapy Association.

“We need to get out of our silos and work together,” said CNA President Dr. Karima Velji (PhD) in stating the main theme of the panel. All panel members agreed with a unified approach with health care professionals working together to drive transformative change.

“Achieving a healthy society is about much more than health care,” cautioned Simpson. “We need to bridge health, social and economic policy,” he said, in order to address the broader determinants of health.

The desire to work together on advocacy efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of Canadians is emphasized by a joint white paper prepared by the CMA and CNA for the conference.

The draft document details the efforts of the two organizations to collaborate for a national health policy agenda since the early 1990s noting that such work is “foundational” for both associations.

In addition to formal campaigns, the document concludes by noting the CMA and CNA “trade notes in advance of every opportunity to advocate to the federal government, including federal elections, pre-budget consultations, and

presentations to various parliamentary committees.”

While noting that the joint advocacy efforts have had success in preserving the publicly funded nature of medicare in Canada, the white paper states “the job is far from completed.”

As such, Simpson and Velji write that “we must redouble our efforts to our members to provide them with the tools and information to enable them to engage in health care transformation.”

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