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Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | September 1, 2017

  • New Brunswick MP Ginette Petitpas Taylor replaced Dr. Jane Philpott as Minister of Health, after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tapped Philpott to head a new ministry to improve services on reserves. As Minister of Indigenous Services, Philpott will focus on six priorities: child and family services, health care, infrastructure, education, food security, and housing.
  • Dietary guidelines should be changed to encourage people to eat more fat and fewer carbohydrates, urged Canadian leads of an international study published in the Lancet. The researchers found no significant association between eating more than the recommended amount of fat and developing heart disease or having a stroke, meanwhile, higher carbohydrate consumption was linked to higher risk of death overall.
  • A Canadian Medical Association survey found that Quebec doctors see fewer patients than their counterparts in the rest of Canada, but work almost as many hours, and provide about 52 hours of direct care per month compared to 38 hours on average in Canada. Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette claimed doctors in the province see fewer patients because they have been reluctant to make the change to a computerized practice.
  • Nearly a third of home care clients in British Columbia have a caregiver in distress, according to a report by the province’s seniors’ advocate. Services like home support and adult day programs aren’t keeping pace as BC shifts more of the burden of care to families, and unpaid caregivers are increasingly taking on duties they’re not properly trained to provide, such as giving baths and recording vital signs, she said.
  • Teens between ages 15 and 19 had the highest rates of suicide attempts, according to a study of mental health care in five provinces. Rates of suicide attempts ranged from a high of 18 per 1000 teens in Manitoba, to around 10 per 1000 in British Columbia and Alberta, and fewer than 5 per 1000 in Ontario. Quebec did not provide data on suicide attempts.
  • More than 700 health workers and academics urged Ontario to declare a state of emergency over rising numbers of opioid overdoses and deaths. Instead, Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins committed $222 million over three years to improve access to harm reduction services and addiction treatment.
  • Alcohol was involved in one in five opioid-related deaths in Ontario between 1993 and 2013, according to a study by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network. Recent spikes in opioid deaths from dealers cutting fentanyl into street drugs have overshadowed the lesser known risks of mixing opioids with alcohol, researchers warned.
  • Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman told reporters the province is “moving very quickly” to get federal approval for supervised injection sites in Edmonton. Edmonton firefighters administered the anti-overdose drug naloxone almost every other day from June to August, according to new numbers from the province.
  • Dr. Brian Day, a private clinic owner currently embroiled in a protracted legal challenge to Medicare, made misleading claims that two patients had died “as a result of waiting” for care in the public health system, according to a Globe and Mail investigation. The sister of one patient and the affidavit of the other indicated the deaths were unrelated to access.
  • Nova Scotia Health Minister Randy Delorey said the province is prepared to loosen restrictions on where doctors can practise. Currently, doctors who want to set up a new family practice must receive approval from the Nova Scotia Health Authority to avoid a concentration of physicians in some areas and shortages in others.

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