Thursday, September 19, 2013
Health accords coming to a close but work has just begun
Ten years ago, the federal, provincial, and territorial governments set out to fix an ailing health care system. The result was the 2003 and 2004 health accords. With an eye to public accountability, the First Ministers also established the Health Council of Canada to monitor progress and outcomes against the commitments made in the health accords and to track the impact on health care reform across the country.
The Health Council has carried out that mandate through the last decade, producing more than 50 reports while engaging the public, patients, and other system stakeholders in how to improve our health system.
With the health accords ending in 2014, the federal government made the decision to wind up funding for the Health Council.
In this, one of our last reports, we draw on our accumulated knowledge and insights into Canada’s health system to look back on the investments and impact of the health accords as a driver for health reform across Canada. Our conclusion: The outcomes have been modest and Canada’s overall performance is lagging behind that of many other high-income countries. The status quo is not working. We need to do the business of health reform differently.
However, we can learn from the approach used in the design and implementation of the health accords. This report outlines some key lessons on what worked well and what didn’t. Building on these observations and the recommendations of others who have examined successful strategies for health system improvement, we set out an approach for achieving a higher-performing health system.
All of us have a stake in the future of our health system.
Most of us, our families, and our friends, have had first-hand experience with health care in Canada—both good and bad. We need to make health care in Canada better. We need to see greater progress in reforming health care than we’ve seen over the last 10 years. We need a high-performing health system that will benefit all Canadians—today and for generations to come. In achieving that vision, all governments, health care organizations, health care providers, and the public have a role to play.
The health accords and the Health Council may be coming to a close, but the work has just begun.
Posted by Health Council of Canada | Conseil Canadien de la Santé at 11:10 AM