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TORONTO – Following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet reshuffle and the addition of a new Cabinet role to address mental health, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) calls on new ministers of health to tackle the “health workforce crisis” caused by stress burnout.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the organization said how many healthcare workers have left their jobs or are at the end of their rope due to the continued pressure to deal with COVID-19.

“The pandemic has only underscored and exacerbated what we already knew: our healthcare system needs focus and attention,” the CMA said.

“There are no quick fixes, and this crisis has escalated beyond what a province or territory can handle on its own. The CMA looks to the federal government for urgent leadership and investment in the integrated, pan-Canadian health workforce planning needed to ensure a strong and sustainable workforce. “

The new cabinet was unveiled on Tuesday morning in what turned out to be a dramatic upheaval, with just seven ministers unchanged in their roles.

After 19 months of service during the COVID-19 pandemic, Patty Hajdu is no longer Minister of Health and has become Minister of Indigenous Services. Former Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos will assume his role, and Carolyn Bennett will take over as Associate Minister of Health.

Bennett, who was a family doctor, has another role as well, having been asked to take on the newest post of Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

The CMA said in its statement that it applauds the inclusion of a minister for mental health and hopes Bennett will help address issues facing healthcare workers.

“Health care workers are exhausted, exhausted and demoralized, which is exacerbated by the growing shortage of health human resources,” the statement said. “Investing in the well-being of health workers is essential. Many health workers have had to deal with extreme working conditions throughout the pandemic and its toll will last for a long time. “

The statement called on the federal government to help ensure that there is the necessary infrastructure to allow Canadians to access health care providers in a timely manner while also ensuring that health care workers receive them. themselves are supported.

“The number of Canadians without access to a family doctor or healthcare team is at an all time high, causing ripple effects across the healthcare system and hampering patients’ ability to receive care in a timely manner, ”the statement added.

The CMA also urged the government to keep its election promises to improve health care and create a “national anti-racism plan” to help address structural inequalities.

“We are counting on the government to deliver on welcome election pledges as soon as possible to see an investment of $ 6 billion to help reduce backlogs, $ 9 billion to improve long-term care and $ 3 billion to increase l ‘access to vital primary care providers. The statement said.

One of Duclos’ first responsibilities as he enters this new role will be to negotiate with the provinces and territories who have demanded that the federal government bear a greater share of the costs of delivering health care.

The Liberals’ platform also promised a new federal transfer of $ 4.5 billion over five years to the provinces and territories to develop free and accessible mental health services.

With files from the Canadian Press

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