Roger Collier | CMAJ | February 23, 2018
- Canada has an “appalling record” on Indigenous health and should take concrete action to address the issue, according to The Lancet. The British medical journal questioned Canada’s potential to be a global leader on health if it “can’t be a leader at home on Indigenous health and equity.”
- Chronic heavy drinking is the biggest preventable risk factor for early-onset dementia, according to a Canadian studied published in The Lancet. The observation study of 57 000 cases of dementia before age 65 found that 57% were related to chronic heavy drinking.
- More than twice as many Canadians age 15 and over use marijuana than 30 years ago, according to Statistics Canada. The reported rate of cannabis consumption increased from 5.6% in 1985 to 12.3% in 2015.
- Brain Canada and the federal government announced a $10-million grant to create the Canadian Open Neuroscience Platform. Fifteen universities are involved in the platform, created to help neuroscience researchers share data that could lead to treatments for neurological diseases.
- Patients in northern British Columbia are facing safety risks because of a lack of nurses, according to the province’s auditor general. Up to 15% of registered nurse positions, and 25% of nurse practitioner positions, are vacant in the remote region.
- Nova Scotia is starting an immigration stream for foreign-trained doctors qualified to work in Canada. The program is intended to cut red tape and paperwork to help attract more physicians to the province.
- More than 540 000 residents of Quebec have found family doctors through the province’s online registry, launched in April 2016, but almost 74 000 have been declined by a physician. The most common reasons doctors decline taking on a file is because a patient is “unreachable” or the patient’s condition is “incompatible” with their medical practices.
- The British Columbia government will eliminate medical service plan premiums in 2020, according to the province’s budget. The elimination of the unpopular premiums can save up to $900 a year for individuals and $1800 for families.
- Insurance company Sun Life Financial plans to offer coverage for medical marijuana under its group benefits plans. Starting March 1, organizations that offer extended health care plans through Sun Life can choose to add coverage for medical cannabis for up to $6000 per person per year.
- Alberta Health Services is being taken to court by two airline companies over air ambulance contracts. The companies claim the process for selecting air ambulance operators is “dramatically void of the appearance of fairness” and is “a sham.”
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