Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | September 8, 2017
- National and provincial medical associations joined with business groups to form a Coalition for Small Business Tax Fairness to oppose reforms that will reduce the benefits of incorporation for high earners, including many doctors. However, the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) came out in support of the controversial changes. “Nurses have told us that they believe people should pay their fair share,” said CNA President Barb Shellian.
- The Canadian Institutes for Health Research concluded that new national guidelines for prescribing opioids were based on sound evidence, and were not affected by a conflict of interest of one of the doctors who voted on the recommendations. The guidelines advise against prescribing opioids as a first line treatment for chronic non-cancer pain or for patients with a history of substance abuse, among other restrictions.
- Young women who wish to prevent pregnancy permanently face barriers to sterilization from physicians who refuse to perform the procedure, according to authors of a case series of tubal sterilization in women under 30. In some cases, doctors refused to refer women to a willing provider or advised them to seek a psychiatric evaluation.
- Fentanyl was involved in 700 of 876 suspected overdose deaths in British Columbia in the first seven months of 2017. That’s an increase of 143% over the same period in 2016. The province’s minister of mental health and addictions committed to an “all-ministry” approach to the crisis, influenced by Portugal’s public health approach to drug use and addiction.
- Ontario is reportedly planning to allow the sale of legal marijuana online and at 40 to 60 stores operated by a government-owned entity. Marijuana will not be sold in existing Liquor Control Board of Ontario outlets.
- New Brunswick privatized management of extramural nursing and tele-care, handing the home care program over to Medavie Health Services, which already runs the province’s paramedic service. The move drew criticism from regional health officials, unions, opposition parties, and former ministers of health.
- Health workers suffer three in 10 of all workplace injuries that cause people to miss work in Nova Scotia. In the past two years, workplace injury insurance rates have increased 25% in the home care sector and 13% in long-term care.
- Carl Armhein resigned as Alberta Health deputy minister to become provost and vice president of academics at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan. Over the past several months, Armhein has faced scrutiny over his relationship with Pure North S’Energy, with whom he signed a $4.2-million grant in 2016. The grant was later cancelled over reports that Pure North prescribed unproven alternative treatments.
- An outbreak of whooping cough in Alberta, with 653 cases reported so far this year, prompted calls for mandatory vaccination for school children. Some school officials supported the idea, but Alberta Health says it will continue to focus on parent education.
- Manitoba reported 614 cases of mumps between January and July this year – more than a hundred times the yearly average of 5. Health officials attributed the increase to the province’s low vaccination completion rate of 75% compared to the 90% needed for herd immunity.
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