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Gender Gap Widens with Health Reform

      The Centres of Excellence for Women's Health recently released a report, based on six regional assessments of health care reform, revealing the health care gender gap is widening. Pat Armstrong, Chair of a co-ordinating group of the Centres of Excellence for Women's Health which produced the report titled: Women and Health Care Reform says: "The last decade of 'reform' has shifted the costs of health care from government budgets to Canadian women - as patients, health care providers, and family caregivers - through their pocketbooks and their own health.

"Because women, on average, earn less than men, are more likely to live in poverty, and less likely to have supplementary health insurance coverage, they face greater financial barriers when health care costs are privatized." Armstrong says.

Women working as nursing home aides, hospital cleaners and food service workers have seen their work privatized and their wages drop while nurses and other frontline health care providers cope with understaffing, heavier workloads, and increased levels of stress and injury in the workplace.

"Hospitals have introduced methods to measure patient outcomes and define effective treatments that may not include the kinds of care and support that women often define as important to their health and well-being," she says. "We are beginning today a campaign to get our report and the regional scans into the hands of candidates across Canada," says Armstrong.

The Centres of Excellence for Women's Health strengthens policy-focused research on women's health in Canada by providing unique opportunities for collaboration among community-based women's health groups, service providers and academic researchers.

Reference Source 93

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