Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Overhaul Needed to Keep Pan-Canadian Health Organizations Relevant: Report

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Overhaul Needed to Keep Pan-Canadian Health Organizations Relevant: Report

Article excerpt

Overhaul federal health organizations: report


OTTAWA - The role the federal government and its arms-length organizations play in the Canadian medical system needs a dramatic overhaul, including phasing out three of the eight agencies, says a new report.

An external review released Tuesday found serious gaps and overlaps among the federally funded organizations tasked with co-ordinating federal health-care policy across the country.

The eight so-called pan-Canadian health organizations were created over the last three decades as self-governing, not-for-profit entities whose areas of focus include substance use and addiction, drugs and technology, health information, patient safety, cancer and mental health.

"If the (pan-Canadian health organization) suite is to become a more effective lever for a re-engaged federal government, more than mere tinkering or housekeeping changes are required," the report said.

"What has helped advance Canadian health systems to where they are today is not what will take them where they must go in the future," it adds, describing the current framework as having "serious gaps, redundancies and misalignments that cannot be remedied without retooling."

The eight organizations have a combined budget of $300 million and employ about 1,300 people.

The report suggested three of the eight -- the Mental Health Commission of Canada, the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction -- be phased out, with their expertise and resources moved elsewhere.

"It is not because we believe that these problems or issues have been dealt with and are finished that we make this recommendation," said Dr. Danielle Martin, one of the report's two co-authors.

"It is because they are such critical areas where action is needed that we think that we need to ensure that the organizations and structures that support these issues need to be of the appropriate scale and with the appropriate missions and mandates to be successful. …

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