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Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | June 8, 2018

  • Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives won a majority government in the Ontario election on a platform that included promises to end “hallway medicine,” add 15 000 long-term care beds over five years, and spend $3.8 billion on mental health, addiction and housing supports over the next decade. Ford also promised free dental care for low-income seniors and to roll back the province’s updated sexual education curriculum.
  • Doctors cannot refuse to treat patients who have used or are using opioids, and they may not limit opioid prescriptions for patients with chronic pain, according to College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia. New practice standards will instead require doctors to work with patients to decide appropriate dosages.
  • Overdose deaths involving illicit drugs in BC decreased by 23% in April after a near-record high of 161 deaths in March, according to the provincial coroner’s service. An estimated 124 people died of overdoses involving illegal drugs in April, with most deaths involving fentanyl.
  • Nova Scotia’s waitlist for family doctors has grown to more than 50,000 people, about 5.4% of the province’s population. Doctors of Nova Scotia attributed the physician shortage to retirements, burnout and compensation issues.
  • Saskatchewan mental health and addictions services are not keeping up with demand, according to a provincial audit. Last year, 44% of people seeking detox services were turned away, and about 80% of children and youth with mild to moderate mental illnesses did not see a psychiatrist within 20 days.
  • BC announced the addition of 50 clinical pharmacists to primary care networks across the province as part of a shift toward team-based care. The pharmacists will work directly with patients who have complex conditions and will cost $23 million over the next three years.
  • Quebec health officials advised the public on how to counter the effects of tear gas ahead of the G7 summit in La Malbaie.  Officials warned that tear gas may be used on demonstrators, which may affect  people living near the summit location, and recommended that those exposed wash their hands and eyes immediately and seal contaminated clothing in plastic bags.
  • Alberta’s privacy commissioner will investigate why Alberta Health Services sent an Indigenous teenager a letter addressed to “Treaty Indian.” Alberta Health Services said letter was the result of an “inexcusable” data-entry error.
  • New Brunswick jails are not tracking drug overdoses, according to the province’s correctional ombudsman. In other provinces, opioid overdoses have spiked in correctional institutions.
  • Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said the province won’t replace flimsy paper health cards because it’s too expensive. The province has issued health cards in paper form since 1969.
  • Health PEI is looking into self-serve kiosks for hospital admissions. Staff will still be available to admit patients who are uncomfortable with the technology.

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