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Health Minister Promises New Benchmark for Wait Times

Federal Health Minister Tony Clement assured patients frustrated by long waiting lists. He said that they can take their health care providers to the court for not meeting its benchmarks. // He guaranteed that one can open the door to legal action if the promise was not met by the health care provider.

By this the framework in place is maintained and a patient can demand if he is not getting the care that is essential. Clement said this while, speaking at a conference on wait times which was sponsored by the Canadian Medical Association. He also said that it would be possible only with the joint approach of the patient, his provincial and territorial counterparts. He also mentioned that the former Ontario health minister have already taken a step forward by establishing new benchmarks for wait times. The province of Quebec was the first to include a wait times guarantee for certain medical procedures.

But he said that this would take time. He also mentioned some progress was made, and would expect to do more over a period of some weeks or months. He said that the wait times guarantee is among the Conservatives’ top five priorities from their election campaign platform. But the Canadian Healthcare Association spokesman Michael McBain said that it is just a means of distraction. McBain criticized Clement for using Quebec as a model, arguing the province allowed some of the most blatant violations of the health act in private clinics.

The Canadian Medical Association called on the government to introduce a $2-billion fund in partnership with the provinces to cover the cost of sending patients to different jurisdictions for procedures and treatment. Clement said there were four cornerstones to his plan, focusing on research and technology, and improving federal-provincial relations and human resources in the system.


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