North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold (centre) discusses ideas for a new federal health accord with Dr. Carole Williams of Cowichan Valley (left) and Blind Bay’s Sue McCrae of the Shuswap Hospice Society during a round-table discussion Wednesday in Vernon at the Schubert Centre.

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold (centre) discusses ideas for a new federal health accord with Dr. Carole Williams of Cowichan Valley (left) and Blind Bay’s Sue McCrae of the Shuswap Hospice Society during a round-table discussion Wednesday in Vernon at the Schubert Centre.

MP hears health concerns

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold and the Canadian Medical Association co-hosted a roundtable

Canada’s acute care system is working well.

It’s long-term care that needs work.

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold and the Canadian Medical Association co-hosted a roundtable in Vernon at the Schubert Centre Wednesday with local healthcare service stakeholders to discuss future health care and development of a new health accord that the federal government is negotiating with the provinces and territories.

The CMA made a presentation and the co-hosts were able to hear from local organizations involved in health care including North Okanagan and Shuswap hospice associations, hospital foundations, First Nations and others.

“One thing that was fairly clear in the discussions, almost reaching consensus, was that the acute care system seems to be working reasonably well,” said Arnold.

“It’s the long-term care system that needs to be looked at. Long-term care for seniors. The way the system was developed years ago just doesn’t work anymore. Hospitals aren’t really meant to be long-term care facilities.”

The federal government has committed to delivering a new health accord in the coming year and this is expected to establish the conditions and formulas governing the transfer of federal funds for healthcare.

“The Canadian Medical Association believes a new health accord between the federal government and provinces and territories, with special emphasis on our seniors, is the best opportunity we have to improve standards of care and ensure our dollars are invested in real change for our health care system,” said Dr. Cindy Forbes, CMA president.

Arnold sits in opposition in the Legislature. His role in the round-table discussion was to listen.

“Most of the people felt the changes and ideas and innovations (for the health accord) will need to come from communities and front-line people, and not necessarily from government,” said Arnold.

“I’m here to hear from the communities and people and put the information into a paper that I’ll submit to the health minister or health committee and hopefully see some of the ideas incorporated into the new health accord.”

The last health accord was developed more than 50 years ago and has, said Arnold, become outdated.

The discussion Wednesday lasted more than two hours.

“The ongoing government negotiations with the provinces and territories will have a profound impact on the future of health care in Canada,” said Arnold.

“I appreciate the input received today from the Canadian Medical Association and local healthcare stakeholders. It certainly helps me advocate for what our local communities need.”