Cancer Patients Support Premiers' Call for Long Overdue Increase to Canada Health Transfer
Canadians can no longer afford to wait for the healthcare and services they desperately need and deserve
TORONTO, March 9, 2021 /CNW/ - Cancer patients and their representatives from across Canada today applauded their provincial Premiers for calling on the Federal Government to increase Canada Health Transfer payments from the present 22% to 35% of health spending.
For the past several years, Federal health transfers have not kept pace with the growth in health spending. Since 2017-2018, health transfers have only increased 3% annually, while growth in spending is estimated at 4.2% per year by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.
What this signifies is a profound decrease in health services for all people living in Canada. As has been revealed by the current pandemic, the Canadian healthcare system is already under severe fiscal strain. Unless there is an increase in funding, the situation stands to worsen quickly.
"There is no doubt that we must continue to focus on the pandemic. However, we must, at the same time, increase funding for already underfunded health conditions, including cancer," stated Martine Elias, Executive Director at Myeloma Canada. "We must increase our investments in healthcare services, and in building sustainable, responsive health systems for the future, for all Canadians," Elias added.
One out of 2 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, and one of 4 will die from it. Moreover, a 40% increase in cancer incidence is expected between 2015 and 20301. The Canadian Cancer Society estimated, before the pandemic, that 225,000 Canadians would be diagnosed with cancer in 2020.1 And, oncologists estimate a 16 per cent decline in overall cancer detection rates in 2020 as compared to 2019..
Dr Hira Mian, hematologist at the Juravinski Cancer Centre and assistant professor within the department of oncology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario added the following: "Delayed cancer diagnoses, treatments, access to clinical trials, and surgeries will negatively impact patient outcomes. Elective surgeries, treatments and therapies have also been severely delayed, and there is a considerable rise in mental health issues amongst all Canadians. All of these factors will further tax an already strained healthcare system once the pandemic comes under control. Unless there is an infusion of funds, this strain jeopardizes the health and well-being of people living in Canada."
Cancer patients call on the Federal government to not only increase Canada Health Transfer payments to 35% but to also ensure that a portion of those funds be allocated to catch up on the dangerous backlog in cancer care, and to ensure the planning of progressive future cancer strategies and systems.
"All people living in Canada have the right to first-rate primary, diagnostic and health services, care and technology. As such, we agree with the Premiers that an immediate and sustained funding increase is necessary to meet and support the needs of our growing and aging population," stated Kathy Barnard, Founder and President of Save Your Skin Foundation.
"We also call on the provinces/territories to commit to using these funds effectively to improve access to diagnostic and healthcare services, as well as innovative cancer treatments and therapies for all people in Canada. We call on both levels of government to be transparent and accountable for this spending, and take into account our aging population, our cultural diversity, the social determinants of health; and consider the distinct needs of all our population" added Eva Villalba, Executive Director, Coalition priorité cancer au Québec.
This press release has been issued on behalf of the following patient organizations:
- Antonella Rizza, Chief Executive Officer, Lymphoma Canada
- Dr Barry Stein, President/CEO, Cancer Colorectal Canada
- Christina Sit, Program Manager, Lung Cancer Canada
- Eva Villalba, Executive Director, Coalition priorité cancer au Québec/Quebec Cancer Coalition
- Filomena Servidio-Italiano, President & CEO, CCRN (Colorectal Cancer Resources & Action Network)
- Dr Hira Mian, hematologist, Juravinski Cancer Centre, assistant professor oncology McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario
- Jackie Herman, President, CNETS (Canadian Neuroendocrine Tumour Society)
- Kathy Barnard, Founder/President, SYSF (Save Your Skin Foundation)
- John-Peter Bradford, Founding CEO and Board Member, LSTN (Life-Saving Therapies Network)
- Louise Binder, Health Policy Consultant, SYSF (Save Your Skin Foundation)
- MJ Coteau, Founder and Executive Director, Rethink Breast Cancer
- Martine Elias, Executive Director, Myeloma Canada and Chair of CONECTed (Collective Oncology Network for Exchange, Cancer Care Innovation, Treatment Access and Education)
- Rachael Manion, Executive Director, Canadian Skin Patient Alliance, Canadian Association of Psoriasis Patients
- Stéphanie Michaud, PhD, President and CEO, BioCanRx
- Dr. Sandeep Sehdev, lead breast cancer group - medical oncology, Assistant Professor, Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre
1Canadian Cancer Society. Cancer information. Cancer 101. Cancer statistics at a glance. Accessed October 19, 2020. Available at: www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-101/cancer-statistics-at-a-glance/
2Metrika. Impact of COVID-19 on Canadian oncology practices. December 2020. On file.