Health Minister Jane Philpott said Tuesday she will be “concerned” by the findings of a study published by the American Journal of Medicine.
The report said Canada has not seen a single study of its holistic medicine program that supports people with chronic illnesses and their families.
Philpot, who is also the minister responsible for the federal government’s Integrated Health Services and supports the government’s plan to replace the health care system with a single, publicly financed system, said the findings are “disturbing” and call for more study.
“We have a government program that is really struggling to meet the needs of Canadians with chronic diseases and the families and the people with them,” Philptt said at the Canadian Humanist Association’s annual convention in Calgary.
“And I think it’s time we look at it.”
“It’s a shame that there hasn’t been a single systematic review of the effectiveness of all of our holistic programs.
It’s a huge opportunity for the government and the private sector to find solutions.”
The Canadian Medical Assocation says that if the new minister is not convinced the program is working, she should look at how it is funded.
The association said it will work with the federal health minister to develop a new funding formula.
“This is not about one-off funding,” said Dr. Peter Faden, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine and the medical director of the Integrative Health Systems Program at the Faculty of Community Health Sciences.
“It’s about all of the health services we deliver, all of which are integrated with our holistic approach.
And we’re going to make sure that they’re all supported.”
A number of other countries around the world are looking to replace their health care systems with the single-payer system.
The American Journal report also said the federal public-health system is at risk of closing because of the increasing cost of drugs, especially opioids, and because the government is paying out more and more benefits.
The new report said the public-sector system has the lowest quality of care, which has resulted in Canadians receiving higher rates of hospitalization and emergency room visits than the general population.
In addition, the report said, the government lacks a robust network of doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals, leaving patients to rely on a patchwork of providers.
The Canadian Medical Alliance says the study is “one of the most comprehensive reviews of the efficacy of the system to date,” and says the federal system is better than most.