The National Health Leadership Conference
Each year in June, HealthCareCAN and the Canadian College of Health Leaders (CCHL) co-host the largest national gathering of health system decision-makers at the National Health Leadership Conference (NHLC). NHLC is attended by over 700 health leaders at all levels and from across all sectors of the healthcare system. It provides a forum to: enrich health leadership practices and innovation; showcase leading practices and their success; and, share issues of common concern in the areas of accountability, effectiveness and transparency in the health system.
2015 marked the 20th anniversary of the conference. Hosted in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, June 15-16, the 2015 theme was “Driving a culture of engagement, innovation and improvement.”
2015 Conference Highlights
Opening Plenary – The Honourable Rona Ambrose
This year’s opening plenary included a welcome from Prince Edward Island Premier Wade MacLauchlan and featured the Honourable Rona Ambrose, federal Minister of Health. Her address to delegates focused on Canada’s long tradition of innovation in healthcare; the government’s commitment to research and innovation and the continuing need for innovation to improve the quality, accessibility and sustainability of the healthcare system.
Dr. David Hill, Co-Chair of HealthCareCAN’s Vice Presidents of Research, led the Question & Answer session by requesting a meeting with Minister Ambrose to discuss the issue of a gap in funding at CIHR. Minister Ambrose indicated she would be happy to meet to discuss the issue.
Bill Tholl, President and CEO of HealthCareCAN also took the opportunity to ask the Minister what health leaders could do to move forward the palliative care and child health agendas. Minister Ambrose noted the government’s recent increase in funding for palliative care in the last budget and asked that provinces and territories work together on this issue. She also noted the government’s work in the area of First Nations children’s health and her concern overall with childhood obesity and the impact it will have on Canada’s future. She asked that health leaders continue to spread the message of the importance of healthy children.
To read a transcript of Minister Ambrose’s speech including the subsequent Question and Answer period, click here.
The Great Canadian Healthcare Debate
A first for NHLC was the Great Canadian Healthcare Debate. Chaired by Mr. Tony Dagnone and moderated by the Globe and Mail’s national affairs journalist Jeffrey Simpson, the debate offered a unique opportunity for health leaders to debate and pass policy resolutions aimed at assisting policy and decision-makers at all levels to address key healthcare policy challenges.
Policy Resolution Committee – Mr. Tony Dagnone led a talented and experienced group of health leaders from across the country in the review and selection of a “short list” of motions.
Call for Motions – In late 2014 and early 2015, a Call for Motions was widely distributed to Canadian health leaders. The Call was answered with 48 motions covering a wide range of issues; a successful response particularly for the first-ever debate.
The “Top Ten” Motions – The Policy Resolution Committee reviewed all motions based on the criteria: significance, impact and interest and identified the “top ten”. A summary document of the “top ten” motions is available here. These motions were presented to conference delegates who voted on their priorities and those motions they thought would generate the best debate. This vote determined the order in which motions would be debated. Detailed issue briefs on each of the motions can be accessed by clicking on the name of the motion below.
Debate Results – Following are the results of those motions debated by conference delegates.
|Funding for mental health – 89%|
Resolved, that over the next ten years, all provincial and territorial governments, along with regional health authorities, increase the proportion of their respective health care budgets that is devoted to mental health by two percentage points from current levels.
Sponsor: Louise Bradley, President and CEO, Mental Health Commission of Canada
|Electronic health records – 89%|
Resolved, that all governments, along with professional healthrelated colleges and associations, commit to building and using an electronic health record for every citizen and ensure that patients have access to all electronic health information held about them, with a view to ensuring full online access to data by patients within five years.
Sponsor: Sharon Nettleton, Patients for Patient Safety Canada
|National Pharmaceutical Strategy – 81%|
Resolved, that governments in Canada commit to make pharmaceuticals an integral component of Canadian health care through a renewed National Pharmaceuticals Strategy that ensures that all Canadians have access to a safe and secure supply of prescription drugs at an affordable cost regardless of care setting.
Sponsor: Steve Morgan, Professor, University of British Columbia
|Optimization of professional scope of practice – 70%|
Resolved, that governments in Canada collaborate to define and implement innovative approaches to optimizing scopes of practice across all health care professionals.
Sponsor: Mark Given, Director, Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists
|Patient’s Medical Home model of family practice – 63%|
Resolved, that the Patient’s Medical Home be adopted as the preferred model of integrated primary care, and that appropriate resources be allocated by all governments to support this model.
Sponsor: Artem Safarov, Director, Health Policy & Government Relations, College of Family Physicians of Canada
|Seniors’ Health Hub – 55%|
Resolved, that Canadian healthcare leaders commit to transforming the traditional nursing home model into one that offers a community-based health care hub to support seniors’ living at home and provide facility-based care for those with more complex care needs who can no longer remain at home.
Sponsor: Candace Chartier, Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Long Term Care Association
The remaining motions are the deferred “top ten” motions as identified by the Policy Resolution Committee. Although time did not allow these motions to be debated, they remain important issues to health leaders. As such, they will be referred back to HealthCareCAN and CCHL for consideration as to how best to move them forward. These include:
Integrated palliative care
Resolved, that healthcare leaders support an integrated palliative approach to care by planning for and funding of an appropriately skilled and adequately sized health care workforce with the requisite knowledge in the palliative approach to care and access to palliative care specialists.
Sponsor: Nadine Henningsen, Co-Chair, Advocacy Committee, Quality End of Life Care Coalition of Canada
Mandatory frailty screening
Resolved, that mandatory frailty screening be implemented at all levels and settings of the health care system to target the most vulnerable of those with chronic health conditions for restorative or most appropriate care, including advance care planning and end-of-life care.
Sponsor: Dr. John Muscedere, Scientific Director, TVN (Technology Evaluation in the Elderly Network)
Patient safety reporting and outcome standards
Resolved, that healthcare leaders, funding providers and governments commit to publicly reporting results of the analysis of patient safety incidents and to establishing core facility infection prevention and control standards and practices to drive optimal clinical outcomes.
Sponsor: Mark Heller, Principal, Mark Heller Consulting
Physical plant infrastructure
Resolved, that the Canadian government acknowledge that capital investments in renewal of healthcare facilities across the country be eligible under the New Building Canada Fund and as part of any future federal infrastructure programs.
Sponsor: Robert MacIsaac, President and CEO, Hamilton Health Sciences
HealthCareCAN and CCHL were delighted with the positive response to the Great Canadian Healthcare Debate and plans are already underway about how to make it even better in 2016. Following the Debate, a pledge card was sent to Canadian Members of Parliament and to confirmed candidates for the October 2015 federal election, asking them to pledge their support to the top 3 resolutions adopted by delegates. They have been asked to sign the pledge card by July 20th and their support will be acknowledged on the websites of HealthCareCAN and CCHL.
In early fall, 2015, senior leaders from HealthCareCAN and CCHL will meet with Tony Dagnone (Chair of the Great Canadian Healthcare Debate Policy Resolution Committee) to discuss how best to move forward on motions debated and passed at NHLC. HealthCareCAN and CCHL will report back to NHLC 2015 delegates and their respective memberships.
Plenary – Louise Bradley, President and CEO, Mental Health Commission of Canada and Jessica Holmes, actor and comedian
Louise Bradley, President and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada opened day two of the conference by reminding delegates of the staggering prevalence of mental health problems and mental illness among Canadians and the cost of mental illness to workplaces and the Canadian economy. She also outlined the scope of the toll that mental illness has on the health sector; both from the view of needing to treat and support Canadians with mental illness and from the view of looking out for the mental wellness of people who work in the health sector. Ms. Bradley reminded delegates that the health sector is known for its stigmatization of the mentally ill and that the Commission would be taking action by launching a targeted educational campaign addressing the issue. Ms. Bradley also strongly called on the health leaders in the room to take action to level the playing field between physical and mental health by increasing funding to mental health from 7% to 9%.
Ms. Bradley’s opening remarks were followed by those of Ms. Jessica Holmes, Canadian actor and comedian known best for her role in the cast of the iconic Canadian series “The Royal Canadian Air Farce.” With light-hearted humour and thoughtfulness, Jessica shared with conference delegates her experience of depression and post-partum depression and the never-ending journey to wellness, work-life balance and passion. Jessica’s story and closing comedy skit were definitely a highlight of the conference.
Plenary – Dr. Anne Snowdon and Dr. Charles Alessi
Dr. Anne Snowdon, Chair of the Ivey International Centre for Health Innovation (Western University, London, ON) and Dr. Charles Allesi, Co-Chair, National Association of Primary Care (England) spoke about current global trends in health system innovation. For more details about their session, which called for a less physician-centric system, a more patient-centered system and other changes such as supply-chain innovation, click here.
Ipsos Reid Poll Commissioned by HealthCareCAN
Another first was HealthCareCAN’s commissioned market research conducted by Ipsos Reid. The purpose of the poll was to produce a ranking of Canadians’ “worry factor” around the same issues and concerns identified by health leaders for the Great Canadian Healthcare Debate. The results of the poll were released in conjunction with NHLC. To see the full report of the poll’s results, click here and to read the press release, click here.
HealthCareCAN created four provocative media releases around healthcare issues of national significance that pointed the media’s attention towards the importance of this conference:
The 2015 conference received unprecedented and widespread coverage, especially via radio and print media, of concerns that health leaders and Canadians have around healthcare infrastructure, the need to increase our investments in mental health (care) and the growing concerns of Canadians around “falling through the cracks” in terms of end-of-life care.
Twitter activity was fantastic during the conference – #NHLC2015 trended higher than #Bono! (The US rock star was in Ottawa at the time of the conference.)
Selected Media Coverage
The conference and the Great Canadian Healthcare Debate generated a lot of media interest; radio and television interviews, newspaper and online news articles. Selected media coverage can be found here. Click on the title of an article to access it.
- Canada needs to invest in new hospitals, says health care association
- Canada’s hospitals need $160 billion in replacement funding: report
- Ottawa Hospital gives itself clean bill of structural health
- Chelsea Lall’s anxiety lifts through unique Ontario hospital program
- Postpartum depression requires more attention, says P.E.I. mother
- Health sector discriminating against mentally ill: expert
Report on Canadian’s Expectations of the Healthcare System
- Nearly Two in Three Canadians (64%) Worried that the Health Care System is Falling Behind
- Numbers don’t lie: Canadians give healthcare a failing grade
- Health system’s deficiencies clear to Canadians
The Great Canadian Healthcare Debate
- Great Canadian Healthcare Debate: Tackling systemic priorities
- Health-care leaders’ debate identifies priorities for reform
- CMAJ Top 10
The National Health Leadership Conference
- Become the Leader you Imagine
- EDITORIAL: Redesign health care to put patients first
- Canadian health care system in need of urgent care: experts
- National Health Leadership Conference: Lessons in slashing health spending
- Charlottetown Herald on CIHR funding: Top scientists left “high and dry” (contact us)