The Liberal Party has announced plans for a $3 billion expansion of home care services over the next four years. Coming as part of a commitment to negotiate a new Health Accord with provinces and territories, this announcement recognizes that home care is an integral part of a team-based, patient-centred care model that improves care for patients while mitigating cost pressures on the health care system as a whole. In “From Red to Green”, the CFPC recommended specific actions to improve home care in Canada. This announcement works towards many of these recommendations.
The CFPC’s previous grade for the Liberal Party Home Care was a green, owing to prior commitments in this area. While improving on a green in the CFPC model is not possible it is acknowledged that this specific funding commitment enhances the details of the Liberal Party’s agenda for home care in a tangible manner.
The announcement also mentioned plans for improving access and reducing costs of prescription medications, enhancing collaboration to support innovative research and practice in health care delivery and an expansion of mental health services – including the establishment of an expert panel on mental health and centres of excellence. Grades for the Liberal Party in these remain yellow due to the lack of specific plans or funding commitments. However the increased focus on these specific areas of need in this policy announcement forms a stronger basis for action in the future.
The Liberal Party’s platform provides a level of detail sufficient to change the grade in the area of Child and Youth Strategy from a yellow to a green. Previous commitments were promising, but lacked detailed scope. New platform commitments specifically targeting a suite of healthy eating initiatives, dedicated funding to deal with concussions and vaccination strategies as well as support for introducing plain packaging laws for tobacco products provide enough evidence to warrant the change in grade.
Finally, the CFPC has upgraded the grade for the Liberal Party in the area of Support for the Patient’s Medical Home from red to yellow. The announcement offers more concrete language indicating understanding of the team-based, multi-disciplinary approach called for in the Patient’s Medical Home model.
The CFPC continues to call on all parties to share their vision for more federal leadership in health care. The CFPC will continue to review new policy announcements and amend current grades when warranted and communicate these changes as they occur.