When it comes to health care, CUPE does not just have demands; it has proposals. It does not simply identify problems; it offers solutions.
Many of these solutions are presented in a submission to the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.
CUPE is calling on the federal government to negotiate with the provinces and territories a new ten-year Health Accord with stable and adequate funding, including at minimum the six per cent escalator.
To defend and improve Medicare, the federal government must also:
- Enforce the Canada Health Act, including the ban on user fees and extra billing, and correct gaps in monitoring and reporting under the Act.
- Create a health care infrastructure fund that stipulates public non-profit financing, ownership, management, and operation.
- Promote public sector solutions to shorten wait times.
- Implement a federal/provincial/territorial strategy to reduce healthcare associated infections with dedicated funding for microbiological cleaning standards, more in-house cleaning staff, lower hospital occupancy, and mandatory public reporting.
- Create a pan-Canadian continuing care (residential and home and community care) program, with dedicated transfers financed from general revenue and Canada Health Act standards plus minimum staffing and non-profit delivery.
- Promote primary care reform, with funding and regulation, based on the community health centre model.
- Invest in Aboriginal health and meet the goals of the Kelowna Accord, improve water quality on reserves, and cover shortfalls in the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program.
- Implement the National Pharmaceutical Strategy agreed to in the 2004 Health Accord and establish a national pharmacare program.
- Exempt health care from CETA, the trade agreement Canada is negotiating with the European Union, and block extended patent protection for brand name drugs.
Support employment equity and ethical recruitment, and include the full spectrum of health care workers in a pan-Canadian health human resources strategy.