OTTAWA, ON – Dietitians of Canada joins other members of Canada’s Health Action Lobby (HEAL) to remind federal leaders that Canadians want government to make the challenges facing our health-care system a priority. Public opinion research consistently reveals that Canadians care deeply about finding the sustainable and cost-effective options that will enhance our national health. And healthy Canadians make for a healthy and competitive economy. Yet, to date, policy debates associated with the 2015 federal election have rarely focused on health care.
Through its Consensus Statement entitled The Canadian Way - Accelerating Innovation and Improving Health System Performance, HEAL has issued a call to action, contending that an effective health system depends on enhanced collaboration among all levels of government. HEAL also expects the federal government to re-assert its legitimate and facilitative leadership role.
For its part, a health system innovation that Dietitians of Canada has proposed to Federal Party leaders is to develop a Pan-Canadian telehealth strategy in collaboration with the provinces to help more Canadians access dietitian services.
Telephone advice provided by a registered dietitian is an effective component of interventions aimed at improving dietary habits, weight loss and diabetes management and has the capacity to provide access to rural and remote and other underserviced areas. A 2011 report from the Public Health Agency of Canada notes that, in the previous 12 months, only 28% of Canadians living with diabetes had talked with a dietitian about their condition. This is just one example of the health system seemingly not connecting patients with the care they need when they need it.
Currently British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario provide dietitian contact centres and most other provinces have expressed an interest in establishing one. Coordination and support at the national level would help more Canadians access dietitian services to support their healthy eating and chronic disease management objectives.
“Coordination at the national level would provide more Canadians with seamless access to food and nutrition advice from a trustworthy source – the registered dietitian,” says Helen Haresign, Program Director for Eat Right Ontario which is operated by Dietitians of Canada.
HEAL is a coalition of 39 national health and consumer associations and organizations dedicated to protecting and strengthening Canada's health system. Created in 1991, and representing more than 650,000 health-care providers and Canada’s largest health organizations, the major focus of HEAL’s activities has been on the federal role in health and health care. The Canadian Way Consensus Statement calls for health sector reform and funding initiatives grounded in compassion, consensus, and collaboration.
About Dietitians of Canada
Dietitians of Canada is the national professional association for dietitians, representing 6,000 members at the local, provincial and national level. As the voice of the profession, Dietitians of Canada strives for excellence in advancing health through food and nutrition.
Dietitians of Canada supports the access of Canadians to evidence-based food and nutrition information at dietitians.ca and helps them locate a dietitian for nutrition counselling and nutrition services at dietitians.ca/find.
For more information or to arrange an interview:
Kate Comeau, MSc, RD
Manager of Public Relations and Media
For the Health Action Lobby