Ottawa – Canada’s health care sector has fallen short of its 2020 goal of providing “narrow and tailored” health care, a new study says.
A report released Thursday by the Canada Council on the Future of Health Care, the largest public policy think-tank in Canada, found the system has not kept up with changing trends in health care needs.
Its authors said it’s time for a rethinking of the way Canada’s healthcare system works.
Its findings come amid growing concern about Canada’s chronic shortage of medical professionals, including in nursing homes and long-term care.
“It is important to note that there are many gaps in our healthcare system,” the report said.
“While this is true for all Canadians, the magnitude of the gap is particularly pronounced in the chronically understaffed areas of primary care.”
“Many Canadians do not have access to appropriate services, and those who do are often denied timely access to the care they need.”
The report says Canada’s lack of a clear vision of what constitutes a “wide and tailored health care service” means that health care is often provided in the “crowded and fragmented” spaces of long-stay nursing homes, long-duration care homes, residential mental health facilities and nursing homes.
Its report comes as Ottawa has announced a new “crisis” plan to help ensure that the system can provide the right care for people with chronic conditions and disabilities.
It also comes at a time when health care and the economy are facing challenges in the wake of the federal election defeat.
On Friday, the Canadian Press reported that Ontario’s premier, Kathleen Wynne, said Ontario’s economy is facing a “cascade of challenges” in the face of the election defeat, including declining job creation.
Ontario’s economy has been hit hard by the election loss, as many businesses have shut down, but it’s also suffered from a severe shortage of doctors and dentists.
The report found that while the provinces have made significant strides in improving their medical infrastructure, the provinces are not keeping up with the needs of those who are not adequately supported in their care.
The province is also short of registered nurses, as well as nurse practitioners, registered pharmacists, nurse assistants and registered social workers.
The authors note that the gap in healthcare needs has been largely driven by the number of Canadians living in long-time care homes.
Many of these communities have long been considered chronically underfunded by health care systems.
The health care shortage has been compounded by the province’s reliance on short-term and out-of-network care, which in turn has contributed to the poor quality of care for Canadians living at home.
While the report recommends a new vision for Canada’s future, it says that “the challenges that have been faced over the last decade in ensuring access to quality healthcare services and the delivery of quality services must be addressed.”
The authors recommend the provinces, territories and territories work to ensure that Canadians with chronic health conditions are supported in all facets of their care, including access to comprehensive primary care, in long term care, and in home care.
They also suggest that there be a shift to a system of universal access to care, through the delivery and utilization of services by both public and private providers.