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Health professionals call throne speech a huge disappointment for ignoring "health-care deficit"

Ottawa (19 Nov. 2008) ... Health professionals are calling todays speech from the throne a -huge disappointment" because it failed to address important issues facing Canadas health-care system. 

"Its clear from this throne speech that the Harper government doesnt view health care as a top priority and in fact seems to suggest the job is pretty much done," says Elisabeth Ballermann, Co-Chair of the Canadian Health Professionals Secretariat (CHPS). 

-Thats a huge disappointment for over-worked health professionals and patients waiting for critical services who are expecting and demanding national leadership on healthcare issues."

In todays throne speech, which focused heavily on the Harper governments ideas for navigating the current economic turbulence, health care barely rated a mention. 

-Health professionals and patients are one sentence away from being totally irrelevant to the Harper government," says Ballermann.  -Where are the concrete plans to reduce long waiting times, address the serious shortages of health professionals, reduce soaring drug costs, and provide more support for seniors who wish to stay in their homes?" 
 
Ballermann was quick to point out that strengthening the economy and health care at the same time are not two mutually incompatible goals.

-Obviously it is important the throne speech focuses on the financial and economic crisis facing Canada," says Ballermann.  -But the Harper government should be able to deal with more than one thing at a time.  Its critical that they address both the economic slowdown and the large health care deficit facing the country."

-More importantly the Harper government needs to understand that economic and health care issues are and must be linked together," says Ballermann.  -It is counter-productive to focus on the economy without regard to, or remaining indifferent to, other critical issues like health care."

-Investing in public services is a significant opportunity to stabilize the faltering economy, make life more affordable for families and improve their quality of life," says Ballermann. 

For further information:  Mike Luff (613) 228-9800 mluff@nupge.ca  www.nupge.ca

About CHPS
The CHPS is a national advocacy body that represents 70,000 unionized health professionals who deliver the diagnostic, clinical, rehabilitation and preventative services that are essential to timely and quality healthcare. Some of the highly trained professionals represented by CHPS include medical laboratory technologists, physiotherapists, social workers, pharmacists, occupational therapists, and dietitians.

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