Canadian groups call for changes to public health system

Canada’s problems in handling the recent H1N1 pandemic have prompted three healthcare groups to call for an overhaul to the nation’s public health system.

The Canadian Medical Association, the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the National Specialty Society of Community Medicine released a joint report on August 12 that was critical of the problems that plagued physicians and nurses, according to the Global Times.

The World Health Care Organization declared an end to the H1N1 pandemic on August 11.

The groups say clinics in Canada had a difficult time dealing with the crisis and pointed to long lines, confusion and anger at vaccination centers as evidence. They were also disturbed that different communities had different rules regarding who would be given priority status for the H1N1 vaccine.

The huge public demand overloaded the public health system in the early weeks of the vaccination campaign, when family doctors only had limited access to the vaccine.

"The H1N1 influenza pandemic strained public health resources and primary care providers alike," Dr. Matthew Hodge, the NSSCM president, told the Global Times. "Preparing for the future means we must strengthen the relationship of these critical frontline workers."

The report noted that the three levels of government needed to work together to create a national plan to better deal with a pandemic outbreak.

"At the end of the day, our shared objective is protecting the health of Canadians and to do that we cannot work in isolation," Dr. Anne Doig, CMA's president, told the Global Times.