Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | Feb. 17, 2017

  • British Columbia struck a health funding deal with the federal government, leaving Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Alberta as the only provinces holding out for a pan-Canadian agreement. According to the CBC, the deal will give BC access to new funding for home care and mental health, and provide extra monies for combatting the province’s opioid crisis.
  • Canada has the longest waits for health care of 11 developed countries, the Canadian Institute for Health Information reported. Five in seven Canadians were unable to get same-day or next-day appointments with their regular doctor, more than a quarter waited four or more hours for emergency care, and more than half waited longer than four weeks for specialist appointments.
  • Some Canadian health charities are rebranding as the sector faces increasing competition from crowdfunding and donor distrust of institutions, CBC reported. The Canadian Diabetes Association is the latest to drop institutional references from its name, becoming Diabetes Canada, following the lead of Heart and Stroke and other charities that have sought to distance themselves from perceptions about big organizations and administrative waste.
  • Health Canada warned of a serious risk of burns from menthol creams, gels and patches that are used to relieve muscle and joint pain. The regulator has received 21 reports of serious side effects, including burns, severe swelling and blistering, even when the products were used as directed.
  • The Ontario Medical Association is reopening contract negotiations with the province after a months-long standoff and the resignation of the association’s entire executive. Both parties agreed to first tackle the question of arbitration, which doctors want to ensure fair resolution when the two sides reach an impasse.

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  • Sixty-two percent of Saskatchewan doctors feel at risk of burnout, according to a survey from the Saskatchewan Medical Association. The survey showed that burnout risk was highest among family physicians, specialists, doctors with less than 10 years of practice and those working outside large cities.
  • A breach of British Columbia’s PharmaNet medication tracking system has compromised the personal health information of 7500 people, including their names, addresses, dates of birth and health card numbers. Health officials say an unknown, unauthorized person used a physician’s login to access the files and an investigation affecting 14 doctors is underway.
  • An Alberta judge says doctors should be required to report unfit drivers after a man with a history of seizure crashed into a school, killing two girls. The Canadian Medical Association’s code of ethics guides physicians to inform third parties about patients who pose a significant risk of harm to others, but the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons says reporting such cases is not mandatory.
  • Shoveling snow may be a trigger for heart attack, new CMAJ research suggested. The study showed a strong relationship between heavy snowfall and increased hospitalizations and deaths due to heart attack, particularly in men.
  • Mumps cases in Manitoba have spiked in the past three months to a total 139 cases, up from the average of five cases per year. Health officials say the outbreak is picking up speed and will likely last into late spring. Outbreaks of mumps and measles were also reported in Nova Scotia.
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