President's Letter: Health Accord releases final calls to action

President’s Letter: Health Accord releases final calls to action

Dear Colleagues,

Earlier today, Health Accord NL released The Report, which includes its calls to action aimed at transforming health care in the province. The Report identifies strategic directions for ‘rebalancing the health system’ and addressing social, economic, and environmental factors that impact health. Health Accord NL is expected to release its second major report The Blueprint in March, which will outline the plan for implementing the recommendations of The Report released today.

The strategic directions outlined in The Report contain many important and worthwhile approaches to improving health care in the province. They also align well with the NLMA’s Rebuilding NL Health recommendations from 2017.

Calls to action outlined in The Report include a redesigned hospital services framework, province-wide community care teams, one integrated air and land ambulance system, modernized IT infrastructure, frail elderly programming, a human resource plan and recommendations to address social determinants of health, among others.

The NLMA consulted with Health Accord NL on a regular basis leading up to the release of The Report to share the views and priorities of physicians. Our Association was also represented on the Health Accord’s Task Force and many physicians were members of its six subcommittees. The NLMA also consulted extensively with members in 2021 resulting in briefs submitted to the Task force on each of the topics under examination by the six subcommittees, which can be found here. NLMA also submitted a report outlining member feedback on health system redesign available here.

In general, the NLMA supports the vision of the Health Accord. We recognize that the health care system must undergo transformative change to improve quality, achieve better health outcomes and sustainability. At the same time, NLMA must ensure that the Health Accord’s recommendations do not result in unintended consequences for our members or their patients. Given the generality of many of the calls to action in The Report, the NLMA must see the implementation details in The Blueprint and better understand how government plans to proceed before we can offer our unreserved support. NLMA will continue to monitor the Health Accord’s recommendations and track their implementation to ensure the interests of our members and their patients are protected.

One call to action that NLMA continues to monitor closely is the creation of community care teams. NLMA has made breakthroughs in the new MOA related to blended capitation model for family medicine which is a key component for team-based care. The next stage in establishing this model will be to ensure that government policy adopts and builds on the Health Accord’s recommendations. Government must also provide the resources necessary to deliver teambased care that supports longitudinal relationships with family physicians.

As always, NLMA welcomes your feedback on the Health Accord. You can contact us by emailing [email protected]. You can also download The Report and the report Summary.

Susan MacDonald, MD, CCFP PC FCFP