© Photo special to The Guardian
Premier Robert Ghiz speaks to reporters following a meeting of Canadian premiers in British Columbia on Tuesday.
Premier Robert Ghiz is co-chairing a national premiers‚Äô health care working group that will get provinces working together to share innovative ideas and methods to improve health service delivery across the country.
Ghiz held a news conference announcing the new initiative this morning with fellow co-chair Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall. The two are in Victoria, B.C., where the country‚Äôs premiers and territorial leaders have been meeting for the Council of the Federation winter deliberations.
Both Ghiz and Wall said the purpose of this working group is to create a collaborative process among the provinces and territories for transformation to help ensure the sustainability of health-care services.
With a focus on innovation, the working group will also seek to enhance provincial/territorial capacity to better meet new challenges in health-care systems, including the needs of seniors, patients with chronic diseases and Northern populations.
‚ÄúThis crucial work will be done under the leadership of premiers working with health-care providers,‚ÄĚ Ghiz said.
‚ÄúThey are the untapped strength of the system.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThis year marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare,‚ÄĚ Wall noted.
‚ÄúPremiers want to create a new approach that provides better quality care while being sustainable.‚ÄĚ
Both premiers said they believe the federal government should continue to play a key role in the health care system in Canada, but that provinces can take the lead on improving and innovating at the service delivery level.
‚ÄúThis crucial work will be done under the leadership of premiers working with health-care providers,‚ÄĚ Premier Robert Ghiz
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre looking at things we can do together as provinces,‚ÄĚ Ghiz said.
‚ÄúI think that there‚Äôs going to be many areas where we can perhaps eliminate some red tape that‚Äôs in the way that could lead to cost savings into the future. I think that there is enormous potential in this area.‚ÄĚ
In consultation with health-care providers, over the next six months the working group will focus on several key areas. It will examine the scope of practice of health-care providers to find solutions and better meet patient and population needs in a safe, competent and cost effective manner. Challenges with staffing shortages will also be addressed and a more coordinated process will be explored to deal with competition across health systems. As well, the group will look into how to accelerate the development and adoption of best clinical and surgical practice guidelines so that all Canadians benefit from up-to-date practices.
The working group is expected to meet at least two times before providing its first report at the July 2012 Council of the Federation annual meeting in Halifax.