Nice numbers, but let’s see an HR plan, say health workers

Health professionals welcome $18b but still waiting for hiring, training commitment
By Uyen Vu
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/11/2004

Buoyed as they may be by the federal government’s commitment last month to deliver $18 billion to the health system over six years, many health professionals are still cautious about whether the funding will result in a long-term, cohesive strategy to address the shortage of health-care workers.

While much of the discussion at last month’s First Ministers’ Meeting was about reducing wait times for cancer care, heart care, diagnostic imaging, joint replacements and sight restoration, both Ottawa and the provinces said some of the funding would be used to increase the number of health-care workers. As part of the deal struck at the meeting on the future of health care, the federal, provincial and territorial governments said they will make public by 2006 plans for training, recruiting and retaining health professionals.

Of the $18 billion in new funding, $4.5 billion will go into the wait times reduction fund in the first six years; most of this will be used for training and hiring more professionals, according to a Finance Department official.