ARCHIVED - 2003 First Ministers Health Accord

Diagnostic and Medical Equipment

What is diagnostic and medical equipment?

  • Diagnostic and medical equipment normally includes such high technology machines as Magnetic Resonance Imagers (MRIs); computed tomography (CT) scanners, radiation therapy equipment and lithotripters. It also includes other diagnostic and therapeutic equipment such as ultrasounds and x-rays and medical and surgical equipment.
  • Additional equipment that enhances the quality of patient care or the working conditions of health care personnel, such as lifting devices, could also be included in this category.

Why is this equipment important?

  • Early access to diagnostic equipment can lead to earlier detection, diagnosis and treatment.
  • There is consensus across Canada, among the public, governments, health care providers and experts that additional and upgraded diagnostic and medical equipment is needed. It is also clear that the appropriate health professionals are required to operate and maintain such equipment.
  • Improved equipment for health professionals improves their working
    conditions and their morale.

Benefits for Canadians

  • Reduced waiting times for diagnosis and tests.
  • Reduced stress because diagnosis and any necessary treatment can happen faster.

Health care professionals will spend more time on diagnosis and treatment and less on trying to locate equipment/appointments for their patients.

Progress to Date

  • Provinces and the federal government clearly identified the need for improving Canadians' access to medical/diagnostic equipment in their September 2000 agreement.
  • At that time, the federal government established a 2-year, $1 billion Medical Equipment Fund to assist provinces and territories to purchase and install equipment, according to their own priorities.
  • Since then, the Medical Equipment Fund has contributed to the purchase of approximately 50 MRIs; 65 CT scanners, 33 nuclear medicine cameras (used for cardiac and cancer diagnosis) and 17 linear accelerators (used for cancer treatment). In addition, other equipment has been upgraded.

Links to 2003 Accord on Health Care Renewal

  • First Ministers agreed to make significant new investments, including support for specialized staff training and equipment, to improve access to publicly funded diagnostic services.
  • The Accord established a $1.5 billion Diagnostic/Medical Equipment Fund for that purpose.
  • Beginning in 2004, First Ministers agreed to report to their citizens on an annual basis on enhancements to diagnostic and medical equipment and services.
  • This reporting will inform Canadians on progress achieved and provide a baseline against which new investments can be tracked, as well as on service levels and outcomes.
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