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Worry over public health cuts, concerns about health care costs of aging population, and more in this week’s top Canadian health news.

Health News Recap

  • Ten former Ontario health ministers wrote an open letter to the Ontario government urging it to reverse cuts to public health. The letter suggests the “drastic cuts” will put the health of Ontarians at risk, citing the 2003 SARS epidemic as evidence of the “devastating impact of failing to invest in public health.”
  • The federal government announced $49 million in funding to create the Digital Health and Discovery Platform. The network will connect almost 100 health care partners to accelerate the development of medical treatments, with an initial focus on cancer.
  • About half of doctors in Quebec who refuse requests for medical assistance in dying may not have the law on their side, according to the province’s commission on end-of-life care. The commission’s chair, Dr. Michel Bureau, said it’s “50-50” when it comes to doctors being too strict in their assessment of a patient meeting the eligibility criteria.
  • Between 200 and 400 people in Montreal may have been exposed to the measles virus between May 11 and 14, according to the city’s public health authority. There have already been two secondary cases linked to a child who contracted the disease in another country.
  • Almost 9 in 10 people are worried about the financial strain that Canada’s aging population will have on the health care system, according to a survey of 3352 Canadians commissioned by the Canadian Medical Association. Almost 7 in 10 survey respondents support increased federal funding for seniors’ care.
  • Inmates in Ontario prisons receive substandard health care despite high rates of mental and physical illnesses, the National Post reported based on a document obtained under freedom of information. The Ontario government has proposed cutting $36 million from its corrections budget.
  • There is a mismatch between positions and applicants for jobs in Canada’s health sector, according to a survey by Indeed Canada. In 2018, the job with the most postings per applicant was registered nurse.
  • One of the largest private surgery clinics in British Columbia is up for sale, which some observers attribute to Vancouver Coastal Health’s decision to end its contract with the facility. The number of private clinics in the province has dropped from 64 to 53 over the past three years.
  • Complaints to the Manitoba Human Rights Commission urged the province to improve health care access for non-binary and transgender people. Barriers to health care mentioned include health cards with sex designations that don’t match gender identities and lack of public health insurance for certain medical services and procedures.
  • About 200 people may have been exposed to tuberculosis at a high school in Calgary, reported Alberta Health Services. The risk of transmission is low, but those possibly exposed were given instructions on tuberculosis assessment, screening and treatment.

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