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CMA demanding change as ERs continue to be overwhelmed

By Tara Clow Jan 11, 2024 | 1:15 PM

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is calling for change as patients across the country deal with overcrowded emergency rooms.

Patients across the country are waiting as long as 20 hours or more to receive care due to overcrowded ERs.

CMA president Dr. Kathleen Ross says, “Staff shortages and hospital overcrowding combined with poor access to high-quality team-based primary care are leaving hospital emergency departments woefully under-resourced for the avalanche of patients with influenza, COVID-19 or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) at this time of year.”

She adds that the country is facing a primary care crisis, and solutions are urgently needed.

“The Canadian Medical Association believes it is well past time to transform and rebuild the health care system, including investing upstream in team-based primary care,” Ross stated.

The association is calling on provinces and territories to prioritize signing and implementing healthcare action plans to significantly increase access, improve working conditions, and modernize Canada’s health systems.

“One in five people in Canada do not have access to a primary care provider and cannot access timely care for episodic or urgent conditions, or comprehensive care for chronic conditions.”

The CMA says as parliamentarians prepare for the winter session in Ottawa later this month, they need to focus on health care while looking at access to high-quality team-based primary care.

“This is nothing new but unless we make major systemic changes, it will continue to repeat itself,” Ross adds.