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Thursday, April 11, 2007
For immediate release
YELLOWKNIFE – The Honourable Tony Clement, Federal Minister of Health, and the Honourable Floyd Roland, the Minister of Health and Social Services for the Northwest Territories, today announced that the Northwest Territories has agreed to establish a Patient Wait Times Guarantee for primary health care by March 2010, to be supported by $4.6 million in federal Budget 2007 funding. The Northwest Territories will also be eligible to benefit from the $400 million in new funding for Canada Health Infoway, and the $30 million for pilot projects as announced in Budget 2007.
“We are pleased that the Northwest Territories has accepted Canada’s New Government’s offer to move forward and initiate a Wait Times Guarantee,” said Minister Clement. “This is a critical step forward in patient care, and we congratulate the Northwest Territories for this commitment.”The Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to guaranteeing timely access to insured services delivered by primary health care teams, to assure that its residents will get the health care they need, when they need it. As a small jurisdiction, the Northwest Territories faces unique challenges in providing timely health care services to its citizens. These primary health care initiatives will help improve the health care system’s capacity in remote areas.
The initiatives include the implementation of a training program for new Community Health Nurses, the piloting of projects leading to the placement of Nurse Practitioners in communities, and the extension of Diagnostic Imaging Picture Archiving and Communications projects in communities. These initiatives will assist in laying the groundwork for a guarantee to be in place by March 2010.
“This is an important achievement for the Northwest Territories,” said Minister Roland. “Better access to primary health care at the community level, through a trained local workforce and improved use of technology, will improve health care services for our residents regardless of their location in the Territory.”
This announcement marks another step forward by Canada’s New Government as it continues to work towards ensuring that all Canadians receive essential medical treatment within clinically acceptable wait times.
Canada’s New Government is providing up to $612 million in a Patient Wait Times Guarantee Trust, $400 million for health information technology through Infoway, an organization which is making significant progress in working with provinces and territories to implement electronic health records. In addition to these investments, $30 million over three years will go to provinces and territories for pilot projects related to establishing guarantees.
“Canadians want their territorial, provincial and federal governments to work together to ensure that timely treatment is available for them and their families. Today’s announcement, like the others, shows that a patient wait times guarantee is achievable when all governments work collaboratively,” said the Honourable Jim Prentice, Regional Minister for Alberta and the Territories. “Canadians expect us to work together in their best interest.”
Today’s announcement complements a number of previously launched pilot projects toward achieving timely access to better care. These include three which are designed to test guarantees for prenatal and diabetes care in selected First Nations communities, while a fourth is a national paediatric pilot project to address wait times for children in need of surgery.
Office of the Honourable Tony Clement
Federal Minister of Health
Health and Social Services for the Northwest Territories
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