By Roger Collier | CMAJ | Aug. 19, 2016
- Unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, inactivity and eating poorly shorten Canadians’ lifespans by an average of six years for both men and women, according to a study in PLOS Medicine. People with the healthiest lifestyles live an average of 17.9 years longer than those with the least-healthy lifestyles.
- Nearly three-quarters of Canadians believe the federal government should provide extra funding to provinces and territories with greater health care burdens associated with elderly populations, found a survey conducted for the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). The CMA’s 16th Annual National Report Card on Health Care also found strong support among Canadians for a strategy for seniors’ health, improved mental health services and better access to prescription drugs.
- The Public Health Agency of Canada reported the country’s first case of Zika-related congenital abnormalities in a fetus. As of Aug. 11, there have been 205 confirmed cases of travel-related Zika infection in Canada.
- The rate of overdose deaths associated with illegal drugs continues to rise in British Columbia. There were 433 overdose deaths between Jan. 1 and July 31, up 75% from last year, and more than half were linked to fentanyl.
- A policy of paying incentives to British Columbia family physicians for the care of patients with complex health did not impact on primary care contacts or continuity of care, according to a study in CMAJ. The payments were associated with increased rates of hospitalization, and did not decrease annual costs per patient.
- Ontario doctors rejected the tentative contract agreed upon by the provincial government and the Ontario Medical Association. Fifty-five percent of the association’s members voted, with 63.1% opposing the proposed deal and 36.9% voting in favour.
- Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette plans to increase pressure on medical specialists to reduce surgical wait times. About 5000 patients in the province have been waiting more than a year for surgery.
- The medical school at the University of Calgary is one of the first in Canada to be accredited under new standards that came into effect last year. Medical schools are assessed on 95 different elements, such as curriculum and student evaluation.
- The Ontario government announced $10 million in additional funding for its behavioural support program for seniors with mental health problems. The program aims to improve the lives of seniors by identifying triggers that lead to agitation and aggressive behaviour.
- New Brunswick’s trauma program reported that emergency department visits for head injuries related to sports increased by 70% from 2011 to 2015, probably as a result of increased public awareness about concussions. Injuries from hockey, rugby, football, soccer and cycling were most common.
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