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CMA to leaders: Canadians want a Seniors Care Plan in election

Ottawa (Aug. 2, 2015) — Public health care in Canada won’t survive unless the challenges of an aging population are addressed — and campaigning federal leaders need to get serious about seniors care, Dr. Chris Simpson, President of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), warned today.

“Our public health care system can’t survive unless governments get serious about seniors care,” Dr. Simpson said in reaction to today’s formal beginning of the Oct. 19 federal election campaign.

Dr. Simpson said he and his fellow physicians plan to use the campaign as an opportunity to meet Canadians across the country to get their views on seniors care and present a vision of what a seniors care strategy could look like.

“I want to be very clear: the Canadian Medical Association is not going to endorse any party, or embarrass any party,” he said.

“Rather we are going to encourage all the parties to tell voters how they will address the issue of seniors care if they are elected on Oct.19.”

The CMA will be tracking commitments made by the parties on seniors care and will publish the results at the end of the campaign so that Canadians can make an informed decision when they are at the ballot box.

“In our country today, too many senior citizens are falling through the cracks,” said Dr. Simpson.

“Hospitals are becoming congested and overcrowded to the point of being unsafe mainly because 16 per cent of the beds are occupied by seniors who should be in long-term care, or home care.

“The situation in our hospitals is so bad because the alternatives are inadequate. In 2012, it was reported that 461,000 Canadians were not getting the home care they thought they required. Waiting for access to a long-term care facility in Canada ranged anywhere from 27 to 230 days.”

Before the election was called, more than 13,500 Canadians had signed up to support the CMA in its bid to make seniors a ballot issue and get each federal party to commit to a national seniors strategy through, wherein the public can share their experiences and views.

Public opinion polls have consistently shown that health care is top of mind with Canadians, Dr. Simpson said. Yet, health care has fallen off the political agenda and this is why the CMA has created DemandAPlan so that physicians and patients can both make their voices heard in this election.

“Join us,” said Dr. Simpson, adding the invitation is extended to everyone from family members whose heart is breaking “at the anxiety and indignity faced by your loved one” to his fellow physicians struggling to do their best for patients “in a system under stress.”

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians. Founded in 1867, the CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing more than 80,000 of Canada’s physicians and comprising 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and 60 national medical organizations. CMA’s mission is helping physicians care for patients. The CMA will be the leader in engaging and serving physicians and be the national voice for the highest standards for health and health care.