Parliament Hill, Ottawa.

Gladu not impressed with palliative ‘Action Plan’

By 
  • September 7, 2019

OTTAWA -- Health Canada’s five-year Action Plan on Palliative Care announced Aug. 20 is a “lacklustre” effort that fails to commit enough resources, says Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu.

“There was such a big opportunity to do more for palliative care and they’ve really missed the boat,” said the Sarnia-Lambton, Ont., MP whose private member’s Bill C-277 led to the Action Plan. “Seventy per cent of Canadians have zero access to palliative care.

“We need to see more hospice facilities, more home care, expansion of existing programs for paramedics to deliver palliative care and work to address the gap in palliative care physicians, nurses and personal support workers across the county,” she said.

Gladu’s bill that passed in late 2017 called for the federal government to develop the Action Plan in consultation with the provinces, territories and stakeholders.

The Health Canada announcement pointed out the federal government has committed $6 billion over 10 years to provincial and territorial governments for palliative and home care services and another $184.6 million over five years for palliative care for Indigenous communities.

Pallium Canada, a national non-profit organization focused on palliative care, welcomed the Action Plan as a “step in the right direction, but like any blueprint, the implementation — with measurable outcomes for Canadians — is the bottom line,” said Pallium’s Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Moat in a news release. 

The Action Plan calls for: raising awareness of how palliative care can improve quality of life until end of life; supporting improvement of palliative care skills for health care providers, families and caregivers; increasing data collection and research; improving access to palliative care for underserved populations; and improving access to “culturally sensitive” palliative care for Indigenous Canadians.

“What we need is to put the resources in place to address the gaps in partnership with the provinces and territories,” Gladu said. 

“Nobody needs to raise awareness on palliative care.”

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