Ottawa focused on results before investing more into health care, minister says during N.L stop

·2 min read
Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says he's more focused on bettering national health outcomes than rhetoric around funding percentages. (Mark Quinn/CBC - image credit)
Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says he's more focused on bettering national health outcomes than rhetoric around funding percentages. (Mark Quinn/CBC - image credit)
Mark Quinn/CBC
Mark Quinn/CBC

Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says the federal government is prepared to invest more into Canada's health-care system, but conversations with premiers should focus on results rather than the percentages of funding.

Duclos spoke with reporters during a funding announcement in St. John's on Wednesday, while at the same time, Canada's premiers are pushing the federal government to come to the table and discuss raising the health-care funding that goes to the provinces.

The federal government currently pays 22 per cent of provincial health care, but premiers want that number to rise to 35 per cent.

While Duclos says the calls for conversation have been around percentages and funding, he says he's more focused on working to improve health outcomes.

"We are in a health care crisis in Canada as we speak.…There needs to be a discussion on dollars, but more importantly, there needs to be a discussion on the type of resources and outcomes that we want to see working together," Duclos said.

"We want to invest more, more than the 35 per cent which is being asked by the provinces and territories. But in order to know where that funding would be most useful, we need again to focus on results."

Asked about Newfoundland and Labrador's health-care system, Duclos said he hopes to address issues like staffing shortages and surgical backlogs that are seen in other parts of Canada, while looking at other options like teleheath, mental health care and home care.

He's also looking forward to working with newly appointed Health Minister Tom Osborne, continuing what he said is a strong relationship between Ottawa and Newfoundland and Labrador.

COVID amplified system issues: Furey

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey hopes the federal government can come to the table soon, saying medical professionals have seen the health-care crisis first-hand.

"It's bad, and if we're being honest, it has been bad for a while. COVID-19 definitely highlighted the issues within the system and brought them to everyone's attention," Furey said told CBC's Power & Politics on Tuesday.

"But wait lists were a problem before COVID-19, stress and strain within the system was a problem before COVID-19. But COVID-19 has really amplified it, and exposed gaps that are really crevasses in the system."

Furey called for collaboration between premiers and the federal government, saying meetings are an opportunity to revamp a health-care system in need.

"I know the prime minister understands this, I know he understands the urgency of it … we just want to have those discussions, right now those discussions aren't happening."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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