As we draw closer to the October 21, 2019, federal election, the CAR is in its final push to put medical imaging on the agenda. As you are aware, over the last year your CAR Board has been advocating to members of parliament (MPs) and key policy influencers to make medical imaging more of a priority.
Conservative Party pledges to invest $1.5 billion over four years in medical imaging
On September 20, 2019, Andrew Scheer, the Conservative Party leader of Canada made an announcement in Saint John, New Brunswick to pledge $1.5 billion over four years for medical imaging equipment to ensure equitable access to diagnostic imaging procedures for Canadians as part of their election platform. This has been the CAR’s top advocacy priority for the last three years and part of our pre-budget submissions and the Value of Radiology project.
“An investment of $1.5 billion over four years will dramatically impact patient care by helping to ensure equitable access to medical imaging for all Canadians. We welcome this statement and feel that such an investment will reduce wait times for these life-saving procedures,” says Dr. Mike Barry, President, CAR.
This is a testament to the success of our board of directors and you, our members, who have been working tirelessly writing letters, meeting with political representatives and engaging on social media.
This is a giant step in the right direction, however, there is more work to do and the CAR will continue to raise this as a national priority with all political parties leading up to the election.
Priorities for 2019/2020
The CAR is focusing on the following priorities:
- $1.1 billion over the next five years, as part of the federal transfer to the provinces, ensuring imaging equipment meets the quality standards that patients deserve.
- $9 million over three years to fund projects implementing clinical decision support tools for imaging referrals.
- $10.5 million over three years establishing federal frameworks to regulate the implementation of AI tools in radiology and healthcare.
- Revising the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Care Breast Imaging Guidelines, lowering the breast imaging screening age to 40.
Good political work backed up by strong policy to re-invest in radiology
In the last year and a half, we have had over 100 meetings with MPs and political staff. We have also completed our 2020 pre-budget submission and participated in an important committee study on artificial intelligence. Most notably, we have commissioned the Conference Board of Canada to undertake a study on the Value of Radiology Part II, focusing on wait times for medical imaging procedures in Canada and a cost analysis resulting in $3.54 billion in additional output that could be realized if the government were to make a federal investment in new equipment.
Value of Radiology– telling our story in 13 editorials across the country + 5.3 million impressions
The Value of Radiology Part II has had tremendous visibility. Not only have key political staff reached out seeking more information, but we have also had a considerable amount of media coverage with an editorial featuring CAR President, Dr. Michael Barry published in 13 publications across the country. In addition, the Conference Board published a news release which received 87 editorial mentions and had a global reach of 5.3 million impressions.
Recently we were approached by the Lobby Monitor, an online publication specifically targeted to staff, MPs and stakeholders on and around Parliament Hill, for a feature article on the Value of Radiology in which Dr. Barry provided a detailed overview of our priorities with supporting evidence from the report.
The cost of waiting for imaging – earning millions of impressions on social media
As a final push before the voting begins, the CAR has taken to social media to highlight our priorities and mobilize our members to act. A series of posts are being published to draw attention to the need for a federal investment of $1.1 billion over the next five years in medical imaging. We will also be highlighting our other priorities in relation to AI, CDS Systems and Breast Imaging Guidelines. This medium of communication is being used to gather support and initiate conversations among our members as well as the broader community. We encourage our members to share, tag and retweet this information.
“We are at a 20-year low in capital equipment in Canada,” said Barry. “There’s some extreme examples of people having long wait lists, and that’s going to get worse. If you’re a patient, that’s a big deal. It keeps you away from work, keeps you preoccupied. It affects your family life.” – Dr. Michael Barry, President, CAR
We have put the ball in play and you can help us over the goal line
As hopeful federal candidates knock on doors CAR members can engage them with the Value of Radiology messages. How can members do this? Be active on social media, write a letter to your MP, attend a local debate featuring the federal representatives in your area or speak with political representative as they canvass at local events or door to door. There is less than a month left. Now is the time to act! In our July newsletter, the CAR shared a toolkit with our members to help with advocacy work. We invite you to consult this document so you can engage candidates. Included are key messages, a template letter to request a meeting with your MP as well as the Value of Radiology Part II report.
In the lead off to the official Federal Leaders’ Debates this October, the Huffington Post Canada, a member of the Canadian Debate Production Partnership is asking for Canadians to submit their questions for the leaders. A submission link can be found below, and we encourage you to submit your questions prompting the federal leaders to define their support for radiology and medical imaging. Not only will it receive the attention of political leaders but also the larger community including patients. The CAR will continue to advocate on your behalf: however, we cannot do it alone. We are stronger together.
Submit your questions for the Leaders’ Debate in Canada Election 2019: https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/leaders-debate-questions-canada-election-2019_ca_5d3f0184e4b01d8c977ee2c5?ncid=other_twitter_cooo9wqtham&utm_campaign=share_twitter
Of course, we are here to support you. Please contact [email protected] should you require assistance.