Discussing the future of health care

Roy Romanow visits TRU to talk about the future of health care in Canada

Karla Karcioglu, Roving Editor Ω

Roy Romanow addresses the audience in the Irving K. Barber Centre on Oct. 16. Karla Karcioglu/The Omega

Roy Romanow addresses the audience in the Irving K. Barber Centre on Oct. 16. Karla Karcioglu/The Omega

Roy Romanow urged people to get involved in the future of health care when he visited TRU on Oct. 16. His presentation, “The Future of Health Care in Canada,” was part of the Dave Barrett Lecture on Child, Family, and Community Welfare.

Romanow was the 12th premier of Saskatchewan, a member of the NDP party and previously the head of the royal commission on the future of health care in Canada. He is currently chair of the advisory committee of the Canadian Index of Wellbeing at the University of Waterloo and a professor of political studies at the University of Saskatchewan.

After a traditional prayer from a Secwepemc (Shuswap) elder, Romanow opened his talk by discussing his concerns over the health of Canada’s First Nations communities.

“One of the most important aspects of health care is the abysmally poor health outcomes for First Nations people,” Romanow said, noting that he was shocked that this was still an ongoing issue.

“This is not a question of trying to impose our methods of health care reform on First Nations people,” he said. “It’s a question of making sure that we understand integrating the way things work in their society and their cultures.”

Romanow said that good health care should depend on the simple notion that we are all members of a society. “We are all born, live, work, inevitably get sick, and die.”

Romanow said that at the royal commission, his first task was to determine whether Canadians saw health care as a social good that should be available to everyone, or as a private commodity individuals should be responsible for. He found that a majority of Canadians agreed it should be a seen as a social good.

“In order for any good public policy to be enacted and to sustain itself, it must be rooted in the values of the society for which that bill is enacted,” Romanow said.

Romanow also talked about the need for federal leadership. He cited his findings, which showed that since Medicare was enacted, the funding has drastically changed from its original 50/50 split between federal and provincial governments.

Many TRU nursing students were excited to listen to a talk from someone they learned about in the classroom, and to learn about the relationships between federal and provincial roles in health care as well as the role of federal leadership in enacting reform.

Fourth-year nursing student Pavnique Bains said that Romanow’s talk related directly to her future, and that it was great to meet someone who plays such an important role in health care.

Dean of nursing Donna Murnaghan said she is “really passionate and committed to having students and the public understand the importance of health and health system change.

“As nurses we have the capability to be leaders in helping inform that change for the future. If we work in partnership with policy and decision makers, then maybe we can help to address some of the equities in the system,” Murnaghan said.

In 2014, the current health accord will expire, and Romanow hopes that Canadians will provide their input before then.