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Three letters represent one of the most striking notions of the Health Council of Canada’s (HCC) report: Better health, better care and better value for all. Safeguarding and promoting health and equity for every person is a principle that underpins the nursing profession.
It was this same principle that inspired our independent National Expert Commission project. If the health-care system is meant to serve and support Canadians, then Canadians deserve the opportunity to be engaged in its transformation. A year of consultations with the Canadian public of all ages, educators, policy- and decision-makers, registered nurses (RNs) and other health-care providers culminated in the final report, A Nursing Call to Action, which contained a nine-point plan of action (CLICK FOR VIDEO).
The leading recommendation from the Commission and a cornerstone of CNA’s health transformation work is ensuring Canada ranks among the top five nations on five key health status and system performance indicators by 2017. This recommendation springs from a troubling mismatch between health spending and results in Canada. Despite ballooning investments and budgets, Canada’s health system performance and population outcomes have stalled or even dropped compared with international rankings. To achieve our Top 5 in 5 goal, all of us — Canadians, health-care providers, governments, employers and others — must be actively engaged in health-care transformation.
In the spring of 2013, CNA hosted a consensus conference for 32 representatives from provincial/territorial health quality councils and ministries of health, regional health authorities, branches of the federal government, academics, health system administrators and experts in indicator measurement. After a long day of healthy and robust discussion and debate, the group achieved consensus on a draft portfolio of five priority health status and system goals. They can be found in our new report, Canada’s Top 5 in 5: Building National Consensus on Priority Health-Improvement Indicators . The indicators, and the consensus exercise itself, are an important focal point toward achieving real change, and one that all the participants were ready to stand behind.
Back to the word “all.” We read in the HCC report that the triple aim of better health, better care and better value should be framed by an overarching goal of health for all, echoing the milestone declaration from 35 years ago of global health leaders at the International Conference on Primary Health Care. They declared that urgent action was needed “by all governments, all health and development workers, and the world community to protect and promote the health of all the people of the world.” This declaration, and the importance it places upon primary health care, has guided CNA and Canada’s nurses for decades as we work for better population and strengthened health systems. Recently, CNA published a new position statement and a leadership in action series to demonstrate how RNs are advancing the principles of primary health care and demonstrating their ability to lead transformation.
HCC’s call for leadership and collaboration for a high-performing health-care system that will benefit all Canadians is one that cannot be missed, and is one that Canada’s nurses are answering.