Roger Collier | CMAJ | October 20, 2017

  • In a survey of 2600 pediatricians, nine said they received explicit requests for assisted death from 17 minors, and 45 pediatricians received explicit requests from the parents of 91 sick children, mostly babies. Pediatricians also reported having exploratory discussions about assisted death with 60 minors and the parents of 419 children.
  • There were 638 physician assisted deaths in Quebec in 2016-2017, up 282% from 167 cases the previous year. However, the province’s legislature heard that the law was flouted in 31 cases, up from a dozen the year before.
  • Internal documents from Health Canada showed that the department knew about serious shortfalls in health services for First Nations children and wasn’t ready to implement changes prescribed by a human rights tribunal in January 2016. At the time, officials reported that nearly a third of children with chronic conditions faced barriers to care due to long waits.
  • The number of Quebec doctors fleeing the public health system for private practice has increased since Health Minister Gaétan Barrette introduced controversial reforms two years ago. As of Oct. 18, 410 doctors have opted out of the public system, compared to 278 when Barrette became health minister in 2014.
  • Ontario passed a bill that will make it illegal to protest near abortion clinics and the homes of abortion clinic staff or health professionals who perform the procedure. The bill also bans advising a person against abortion or interfering with a woman’s ability to access the service.
  • British Columbia opened a youth mental health hub in Victoria to provide medical services, suicide prevention interventions and counselling at a single location. Victoria Youth Clinic received $3 million from the province to operate the hub.
  • Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said he won’t follow through on a proposal to introduce health care premiums after a survey of 18 000 people showed that most people oppose the idea. The survey also included questions about marijuana legalization, and respondents said they’d like to see lower prices for marijuana, although they were split over how weed should be sold.
  • Saskatchewan will begin a consolidation of its 12 health regions in December, the government promised in a speech from the throne. The province will also implement a new organ donation program and amend regulations allowing for donation after cardio-circulatory death.
  • Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia will be ready to assess the skills of foreign-trained family physicians starting next year as part of a campaign to fill a large number of vacancies. As of July, there were 33 216 Nova Scotians on the wait-list for a doctor.
  • One in four seniors in Newfoundland and Labrador has a mental health problem or illness, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, according to a vital signs report. Patient advocates said seniors with complex mental health needs are often passed over for placement in care homes.

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