Health Care Equality Important

Reviewing public health in this province is an important task, and one that rightly includes the active participation of all Islanders. Nothing is more important than the health of our families and communities. The 2016 Chief Health Officer’s report examines the key causes of poor health in Prince Edward Island. The report asserts that the prevalence of chronic disease in PEI is linked with behavioural risk factors such as: poor diet, a lack of exercise, and addictions.  While everyone is susceptible to these risk factors, those with lower incomes are more vulnerable, and as a result, experience poorer health outcomes.   

One way to deal with the “health inequity" is to deal with income and wealth inequities in our society. Disparity is driving high cost health care items like emergency health care, addiction, and untreated mental health issues in our communities. If we were to deal with these inequities at the front end, by reducing poverty and raising incomes, we could reduce the rising costs of dealing with them when they show up in the health care or justice systems later on. The province’s introduction of a toolkit for family doctors to assist patients who are experiencing poverty is a good idea also.  The more resources and services that family doctors are aware of that can help their patients the better.

Let's also remember the importance of upholding health care equality. This principle means that access to public health care needs to be equal and free for all Canadians. Without this equality, many people in our society would not receive proper health care and our standard of living would decline. In fact, public services in general provide a quality of life advantage for all Islanders. They are the most affordable way of meeting our needs and are accessible to everyone, including those with lower incomes. 

Karen Jackson,
President, UPSE