Liberal Party of Newfoundland & Labrador’s Responses

Question 1

The Canadian Medical Association Journal published research in 2012 that showed one in ten Canadians report they skip doses or decide not to fill prescriptions because of cost, with the second highest incidence of cost non adherence happening in the Atlantic Provinces.

If elected to government, what will your party do to make prescription medications more affordable?

Liberals recognize that in order to have a meaningful impact on cancer rates and outcomes, we need a coordinated and collaborative effort to improve access and engage people in becoming informed and active partners in caring for their health. The human and financial costs of cancer are steadily increasing. Concerted action on cancer is crucial to healthcare system sustainability.

Liberals recognize that while cancer transcends employment status, income level and geography, we know these factors greatly influence one’s access to prescribed drugs, treatments and therapies. We recognize the role that adherence plays in improving health outcomes and reducing or avoiding hospital admissions and readmissions. We are ever committed to evidence?based decision making, and we look forward to sitting down with stakeholders like the Canadian Cancer Society?Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network, to discuss improved access to prescription medications.

Despite spending almost 40 cents of every dollar on healthcare, our province has some of the worst health outcomes. We need to take a smarter approach to managing and delivering healthcare in our province.

Question 2

A key element of ensuring timely treatment for a cancer patient is ensuring they have access to the medications they need at the time they need them. Unfortunately, this is not alwaysthe case in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

If elected to government, will you:

a.     Commit to ensuring that all cancer patients in Newfoundland and Labrador receive timely access to medications at the time they need it?

b.     Undertake negotiations leading to regional or national collaboration to ensure timely patient access to cancer drugs?

Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest rate of mortality due to cancer amongst provinces. Liberals recognize that timely access to medications is crucial to improving health outcomes.  We look forward to a productive and progressive relationship with the federal government, something our province has been missing for a decade. We will collaborate with the federal government on matters of importance, such as a national pharmacare program.

Question 3

Every citizen of Newfoundland and Labrador should receive the same high?quality, publicly delivered health care available to all Canadians.  If elected, how will your party ensure that this happens?

With the fastest aging population in Canada and deaths outpacing births, the demographic reality of our province at present is a shrinking tax base to support the system.  Add to that the lowest population density amongst provinces and the associated costs of that geographic spread, and we can begin to understand the struggle for healthcare dollars in Newfoundland and Labrador. People are living longer today, and longevity is pressuring healthcare systems across our country and beyond.

A New Liberal Government will work to improve healthcare access by:

·    Conducting a thorough review of all legislation and regulations covering health professionals to identify ways to allow healthcare professionals to work to their full scope of practice. Changes resulting from this review will streamline primary care, improve patient care, and build a more efficient system. Liberals believe that allowing healthcare professionals to work to their full scope of practice provides an optimal opportunity to enhance a patient’s access to care.

·    Developing regional primary healthcare teams. Liberals believe that an efficient and innovative primary healthcare approach can maximize healthcare dollars, help address recruitment and retention in more rural and remote regions, and improve health outcomes, resulting in a healthier population. Unlike the current PC government, that has budgeted no new money for primary healthcare initiatives, a New Liberal Government will invest an additional $15.5 million for primary healthcare on top of the existing budgetary envelope.

·    Developing a health promotion and healthy living strategy. This strategy will invest in health promotion, healthy living programs, and early intervention, which will reduce acute healthcare costs in the longer term and achieve a healthy population in our province.

·    Developing a Chronic Disease Prevention and Management Program to enhance early detection and screening, as well as treatment by primary healthcare teams working on the front lines of chronic disease management.

·    Launching an Innovative Youth Wellness Program, which will include health risk assessments and wellness coaching in schools, empowering schools to be available for after?school physical education programming, and establishing regional adolescent health clinics. Liberals will invest $14.25 million in this new program, which includes $1 million for an anti?smoking campaign targeted at youth.

Through smarter spending and sustainable investments, Liberals have a plan to improve health and healthcare that is dedicated to better access, better outcomes, and better health for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Our comprehensive plan will include measurable goals and milestones, and a strong emphasis on public reporting and accountability.