The Health Council of Canada released a new report on June 4, 2012 called “Progress Report 2012: Health care renewal in Canada.” This new report highlights progress to date by governments in five key areas: home and community care, health human resources, telehealth, access to care in the North, and comparable health indicators since the 2003 health accord was signed.
It was found that, overall, provinces and territories achieved expectations in the key areas. They fulfilled their commitments to expand home care coverage, increased the supply of health care providers, expanded the use of telehealth services, improved access to care in the North and improved public reporting.
Key findings in the accord commitments include:
- Home and community care – Most provinces/territories have expanded home and community care services but there is variability in access to home care throughout Canada
- Health human resources – The number of health care professionals has increased during the period 2006 to 2010, and the number of physicians grew by 12 per cent
- Telehealth – Utilization of telehealth has significantly increased by 35 per cent annually over the last five years
- Access to care in the North – Additional federal funding in 2004 allowed for progress within each of the three territories however, all three territories encountered significant challenges in the recruitment and retention of health care professionals
- Comparable health indicators – Each province and territory does its own reporting using their own set of indicators and performance reporting frameworks; a pan-Canadian reporting system is needed to truly review and compare health system performance
Even with these achievements, the report questions whether they are enough to advance health care across Canada. The Health Council report suggests that since the accords contained ambiguous commitments with minimal targets, there was more emphasis on putting provinces and territories on similar footing than achieving change and advancements in health care delivery.
For more information go to www.healthcouncilcanada.ca.