VANCOUVER, Dec. 17, 2012 /CNW/ - Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, British Columbia Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid, and Grand Chief Doug Kelly, Chair of the BC First Nations Health Council signed a Health Partnership Accord today re-affirming their long-term commitment and shared vision for a better, more responsive and integrated health system for First Nations in British Columbia.
The Health Partnership Accord is a commitment of the British Columbia Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nation Health Governance (Framework Agreement) signed by the parties in October 2011. The Framework Agreement is guiding the transfer of responsibility for design and delivery of all federally funded health programs and services for British Columbia First Nations, currently administered by Health Canada, to the First Nations Health Authority.
"In partnership with the First Nations Health Authority, the First Nations Health Council and the BC Ministry of Health, the Government of Canada will support more decision-making by First Nations and better health for First Nations individuals, families and communities in British Columbia," said Minister Aglukkaq.
The First Nations Health Authority will incorporate First Nations' cultural knowledge, beliefs, values and models of healing into the re-design and delivery of health programs to better meet the needs of First Nations communities with their guidance.
"The Health Partnership Accord advances our commitment to First Nations health care by collaborating with BC First Nations on the health of their people. We are proud to further strengthen our tripartite relationship with the federal government, the First Nations Health Council, and the First Nations Health Authority to better meet the needs of First Nations," said Minister MacDiarmid.
"This Accord is significant for a number of reasons. It commits each of the partners to continue to work together in a good way. We won't need to refer to this document when times are easy, only when we are in times of difficulty," said Grand Chief Doug Kelly. "We should always remind ourselves and our partners why we have come together - to make the lives of our people and the conditions of our communities better. We are showing others how to work well in partnership and to stay focused on why we do our work. This Health Partnership Accord will keep us working together in a good way."
Since the signing of the Framework Agreement in October 2011, the First Nations Health Council has been expanding working relationships with BC regional health authorities. All five regional health authorities have signed Partnership Accords committing to develop a closer working relationship with local First Nations that will support alignment of health services provided by local First Nations health organizations, the province and the First Nations Health Authority to better meet the needs of First Nations.
The transfer of resources is expected to take place in phases, starting in July 2013 and ending in October 2013. This approach aims to support a smooth transfer of responsibilities and avoid disruptions to First Nations clients and Health Canada staff affected by the upcoming changes.
For a full copy of the accord, please visit the First Nation Health Council website.
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SOURCE Health Canada
Image with caption: "[Bottom L to R] Grand Chief Doug Kelly, Chair, First Nations Health Council, Leona Aglukkaq, Federal Minister of Health, Margaret MacDiarmid, B.C. Minister of Health, Lydia Hwitsum, Chair, First Nations Health Authority joined by witnesses in signing the Health Partnership Accord. (CNW Group/Health Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121217_C9680_PHOTO_EN_22025.jpg