The following is a review of developments affecting health care in CanadaThe information is updated the first week of every month - so ... make this a regular stop in your information gathering activities.
The following information has been compiled from publicly available sources, StratCom does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy or the authenticity of the information and StratCom cannot be held liable for errors.
Healthcare in Canada - February 2003
In New Brunswick's budget for 2003/04, Finance Minister Peter Mesheau announced that the government is increasing health-care funding by $78.4 million over 2002.2003, putting total expenditures for 2003/04 at an all-time high of $1.88 billion. Highlights of the 2003/04 budget include $843.1 million for hospital services, $388.8 million for long-term care and nursing home services, $327.3 million for Medicare and $114.5 million for the province's Prescription Drug Program. The budget is more than doubling capital spending for the health-care system, taking the total to $24 million. Projects covered include the upgrading of medical equipment, improvements to health institutions and the establishment of community health centres. The first four community health centres are expected to open by June 2003. Designed to provide primary care in underserviced areas, they will be staffed by multidisciplinary teams of health-care professionals, including physicians and nurse practitioners.
Health-care professionals are planning the establishment of the Atlantic Telehealth Knowledge Exchange, an integrated telehealth platform for all the atlantic provinces. The exchange is expected to combine the various ad hoc telehealth programs that are already operating on the East Coast. In New Brunswick, five telehealth programs are in place including: a telenephrology service that allows patients requiring hospital-based hemodialysis to receive this service outside the renal dialysis centre in Saint John and telecardiology for patients to be monitored in their own homes. In Nova Scotia, here is the Children's Telehealth Network, which has been up and running since 1996. The Atlantic Telehealth Knowledge Exchange is currently conducting a survey of physicians to determine their needs and how these needs can be met by the introduction or expansion of telehealth services. At present, however, 50% of funding for telehealth programs comes from the Canada Health Infostructure Partnerships Program, a two-year, $80-million initiative, of which $13.2 million is designated for the Atlantic region.
The Canadian Blood Services has decided not to stop collecting blood from known potential West Nile endemic areas, principally in Ontario, even if a test for West Nile is not available before the summer mosquito season. CBS reports that halting collection was a greater risk than that of using infected blood. Ontario, Canada's most populous province, accounts for the majority of blood units collected and also the majority of Canadian West Nile cases. The first human cases in Canada were spotted in Ontario last summer and 12 deaths have been associated with the disease across the country. To date, 388 likely cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Canada, including 150 confirmed cases. In 2002, an Ontario woman contracted the virus and died following a blood transfusion late last year, prompting the blood collection agency to withdraw thousands of blood products.
Healthcare in Canada - January 2003
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Last modified: March 3, 2003