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Health-care report card highlights areas lacking in Canadian systems

A new report out by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) is outlining areas in desperate need of attention across the Canada’s health-care systems.

The data-driven report identifies key areas in need of improvement, such as a lack of family physicians, surgical backlog increases, a jump in overtime hours worked, accessibility to mental health resources, and better electronic data keeping.

“What I enjoy about seeing a report like that is it shows where our gaps are and allows us to try and focus on those areas,” said Dr. Kwadwo Kyeremanteng, an Ottawa-based ICU and palliative care physician.

Many of the issues stem from the COVID-19 pandemic. The report is addressed to federal and provincial governments to act as a launch point.

“I think there’s a lot of little things that when they add up can make a significant impact,” Dr. Kyeremanteng said to CTV News. “But we’ve got to make that call. We got to we got to start pushing towards eliminating barriers, thinking creatively.”

In the Ottawa area, the Pontiac Hospital in Shawville, Que. is an example. The hospital recently announced a cut back of services on weekends for an indefinite amount of time due to a lack of staff.

Deborah Harris’s mother is currently receiving care for a breathing problem in Shawville, but will now need to be discharged every weekend.

“They advised us there’s not enough people to help take care of them anymore,” said Harris. “So that’s why we’re taking her home and we will be taking care of my mom at home.”

“It’s scary,” she adds. “We’re not doctors or nurses and we didn’t get enough advice or proper stuff to let us know what to do.”

The CIHI plans to release annual reports on Canada’s health-care data, tracking the progress of its systems.

“There’s a lot of commitment to making improvements in these areas on the part of health systems and governments,” said Kathleen Morris, vice-president of research and analysis at CIHI.

“But these are long standing issues and it’s going to take some time to move the needle.”

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