To meet the future health care needs of Canadians, the federal and provincial governments should forge a new, flexible approach during health accord negotiations that allows for health system innovation, according to an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) (pre-embargo link only).

A new health accord for Canada should be a partnership for wholesale change to the relationship between the federal government and the provinces, argues CMAJ Deputy Editor Dr. Matthew Stanbrook.

"A temporary tinkering with the health system, without a wholesale system change, will not deliver the health care improvements Canadians need," writes Stanbrook. "Instead, all parties involved in the health accord negotiations must commit themselves to establishing a new mechanism for cooperation on achieving far-reaching, innovative change at the system level."

Stanbrook calls for the federal and to agree that federal funding beyond the Canada Health Transfer will be used to improve the overall system, without prespecified targets.