Symposium: Public solutions to improve access to health care

November 15, 2007

MONTREAL — Innovations in health care in Quebec and across Canada prove wait lists can be shortened, productivity increased, costs controlled and health improved within Canada’s public health system, a symposium on public solutions to improve access to health care will hear today.

The interdisciplinary symposium, organized by the Quebec wing of Canadian Doctors for Medicare, is attracting 150 young physicians from across Quebec and coincides with the release of the French version of Why Wait? Public Solutions to Cure Surgical Waitlists, by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Conference speaker, and study co-author, Dr. Michael Rachlis, an expert on wait list management, says there is a myth that only the private sector can innovate, but numerous Canadian studies show this is not true.

CDM chair and vice chair Dr. Danielle Martin and Dr. Simon Turcotte agree that “there is a push for private profit care in Canada despite all the evidence showing the best way to improve access is through innovations and reform in the public system.” “This symposium shows how many successful pilot projects in Quebec and elsewhere can be replicated across Canada,” says Dr. Turcotte.

Twelve prominent researchers will share their research on a range of care, from primary to specialized care, chronic disease and issues of autonomy. Attendees include representatives of health care unions, the Federation of General Practitioners of Quebec, and the Association of Anesthesiologists of Quebec.

CDM includes prominent physicians from across Canada, including Dr. Maurice McGregor, a pioneer in the area of health care technologies evaluation and professor emeritus at McGill University. The symposium is CDM’s first public activity in Quebec, and is organized in collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The full program can be viewed at

Why Wait? Public Solutions to Cure Surgical Waitlists and Pourquoi attendre? Des solutions publiques aux lists d’attente en chirurgie are available at

Interviews with conference participants:
Pierre-André Champoux, 514-212-4129 (cell), 514-230-9968 (pager)

CDM Toronto office:
Jackie Smith, 416- 351-3300 (cell 416-254-4610)