Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | November 10, 2017
- Health Canada eased restrictions on the abortion drug Mifegymiso to allow pharmacists and other health professionals to dispense the drug directly to patients, without requiring hand off by the prescribing physician. Women will also be allowed to take the drug up to nine weeks into a pregnancy, instead of the previous limit of seven weeks.
- Total health spending in Canada is forecast to grow by 3.9% to reach $242 billion or more than $6600 per person in 2017. This represents acceleration in the growth of health spending; since 2010, the average annual increase has been 3.2%.
- There’s been a 2005% rise in street drug samples testing positive for fentanyl, according to Health Canada’s Drug Analysis Service, which tests some 120,000 samples seized by law enforcement each year. As of September, 4568 samples tested positive for fentanyl this year, up from 217 in 2012.
- More than four in five Canadians have a regular healthcare provider, the Canadian Community Health Survey found. New Brunswick reported the highest rate of access with 89.8% of residents reporting having a regular healthcare provider, while Nunavut reported the worst access at 23.4%.
- Ontario will spend $500 million over four years to create 5000 new long-term care beds and will increase the hours of direct care provided to residents to four hours a day. The province is also creating a new provincial agency to deliver home care, instead of paying private agencies to deliver publicly funded services.
- Saskatchewan’s transition from 12 health regions to one centralized authority will slash the number of CEOs and boards of directors by 86%. The authority will be guided by community advisory networks organized around health programs, such as cancer or mental health, instead of geography, and will employ more physicians in executive roles.
- New Brunswick will ban smoking marijuana in public places and amend the Motor Vehicle Act to create a three-step test for suspected impaired drivers. The first step involves a device that measures the levels of THC in the saliva, the second step would have an officer assess if a driver can walk in a straight line, and the third might involve a blood test.
- Retiring Nova Scotia family doctors are finding it difficult to recruit younger physicians to take over their private practices. Some attribute the problem to more family practitioners opting to work as hospitalists, which pays more and doesn’t involve the financial risk and administrative burden of operating an office.
- Ontario’s highest court will hear an appeal to protect the names of the province’s top-billing doctors. Last year, the province’s information and privacy commission ordered the release of the names, which was supported by a lower-court decision in June.
- Manitoba researchers found mothers’ mental health deteriorates when their children go into foster care. The study showed a 19% increase in depression, 36% increase in anxiety, 97% increase in substance use disorders, and 51% increase in doctors’ visits for mental illness among women after they lose their children.
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