VICTORIA – As premiers gather in Victoria for health care talks, New Democrats today blasted Stephen Harper’s failed leadership on health care, pointing out how the government’s inaction on implementing the much needed reforms included in the current health care accords has hurt the frontline services Canadian families rely on.

“Conservatives talk about being committed to health funding, but then went and announced cuts to health funding. You can’t trust Conservatives to stand up for public health care,” said New Democrat Health critic Libby Davies (Vancouver East). “After investing over $160 billion in health care, many of the reforms included in the 2003-2004 health accords have seen little or even no improvement under Stephen Harper’s leadership.”

Davies was speaking to a New Democrat organized roundtable on Health Care that brought together leading experts to discuss what can be achieved now, under the current Health Accords. Davies pointed out that despite agreement between the federal and provincial governments to save billions through developing a National Pharmaceutical Strategy, Conservatives have failed to act.

“Canadians have a hard time knowing if they are actually getting value for money when it comes to health care because not many of the accountability tools called for in the Accords were ever developed,” said New Democrat Deputy Health critic Anne Minh-Thu Quach (Beauharnois-Salaberry). “In fact, the Advisory Committee on Governance and Accountability was supposed to help governments be accountable to the public – but now it doesn’t even exist anymore.”

New Democrats have long called for Ottawa to take a leadership role and to work with the provinces to hire more doctors and nurses, reduce wait times, make prescription drugs more affordable and ensure Canadians can access better home care.