Health and Community Services
January 19, 2015

The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Steve Kent, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Community Services:

Premier's Summit on Health Care Lays Foundation for Primary Health Care Reform

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this Honourable House to provide an update on the success of the Premier's Summit on Health Care which took place on Wednesday of last week. It was my privilege to join the Premier and over 300 delegates to discuss real issues faced by residents and health care providers in Newfoundland and Labrador today.

Attendees included residents, researchers, health care professionals, representatives from the regional health authorities and the education system, and a vast and inclusive array of organizations and key stakeholders. I would also recognize Members of this Honourable House from all parties who joined us for the day-long event.

Feedback obtained from 13 regional consultations held from Mount Pearl to Happy Valley-Goose Bay helped set the agenda for the summit. Numerous other methods including online and written submissions have also been utilized and the wealth of information obtained is already proving to be an extremely valuable resource.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier's Summit has allowed us to identify a number of key areas of consensus on which we must place greater emphasis going forward. These areas include the need for interdisciplinary primary health care teams in our communities, shared electronic health records, improved access to health care services and supports, improved collaboration and coordination and a renewed focus on health promotion and disease prevention.

During the day we also saw a renewed focus on the theme of taking an "upstream" approach to systemic challenges within our health care system. Integrating this approach, which has been part of the work of the Provincial Government for a number of years, puts a focus on the underlying root cause of any problem - such as the prevalence of type two diabetes or obesity, rather than treating the issue on the surface, over and over again.

A number of participants discussed the concept, including guest speaker Dr. Ryan Meili.

Mr. Speaker, another key theme considered was the effect of the social determinants of health which include where people are born, grow, live, work and age. Applying a "Health in All Policies" lens across government is a direction we will certainly consider as we move forward.

As another key outcome of the summit, we announced the expansion of our Primary Health Care Advisory Committee through the addition of representation from the general public. Those interested in being considered for this opportunity are asked to contact the department for more information.

The Premier's Summit on Health Care provided an opportunity for all participants to make their views known and to build strong and lasting partnerships between government, stakeholders and residents. As we move forward in the development of a primary health care framework, we will continue to strive to create real and lasting change for the benefit of all residents in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

2015 01 19                              1:45 p.m.