According to a report from the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, it appears that our country is no longer seen as a model of innovation in health care delivery and financing. Titled Time for Transformative Change: A Review of the 2004 Health Accord, the report presents the committee’s findings regarding progress towards the implementation of the 10-Year Plan and the Communiqué on Improving Aboriginal Health and identifies further actions that could be taken in support of the objectives outlined in these documents. Adopted unanimously, this report reflects the testimony presented by witnesses over the course of 13 hearings and one roundtable discussion, as well as many written submissions received from interested organizations and individuals.
The committee’s review revealed that real systematic transformation of health care systems across the country had not yet occurred, despite more than a decade of government commitments and increasing investments. I am informed that some of the key themes covered by the committee included: the lack of progress in adapting modern information technologies capabilities to health in general; the need to invest in long-term care and community-based alternatives like home care; the necessity to put a greater emphasis on prevention; the lack of timely access to primary-care physicians; the focus on acute-care services to the detriment of chronic home care; the need to develop a Health Human Resources Strategy.
Based on these findings, the committee made 46 recommendations it believes will truly transform the way health care professionals do business, while achieving a lasting reform. The recommendations outlined in this report include the importance of a holistic understanding of health that sees physical and mental well-being as inextricably linked, with both being equally important to the efficiency and quality of the health care system. As this concept of health is central to the committee’s findings, it also acts as a framing principle for this report.