December 17, 2014
(Ottawa, ON) – Following the release of the findings of an inquest into the preventable, tragic waiting room death of Brian Sinclair, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde, together with AFN Regional Chief for Ontario Stan Beardy, highlighted the continued need for action to achieve equality in health care for First Nations peoples in Canada.
“Friday’s report shows that Brian Sinclair’s tragic death was not simply the failings of a few individual service providers but, rather the result of a systemic failure to provide responsive and culturally-appropriate care and safety, and it must prompt change,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “Racial stereotyping and general underfunding of health and social services for First Nations are unfortunate and tragic realities that contributed to Mr. Sinclair’s death and continue to be experienced by many First Nations across the country. This inquest should serve as a wake-up call for health care providers and policy makers from across the country. As the report states, Mr. Sinclair ‘did not have to die.’ We will continue to work with all governments to implement First Nations-based solutions. We can do better and we must do better.”
National Chief Bellegarde’s comments come after an inquest report released Friday that found Brian Sinclair’s death in a hospital waiting room was not homicide and does not require a public inquiry. Mr. Sinclair, 45, died of a treatable bladder infection in September 2008 while waiting 34 hours to be seen in an emergency room at Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre. The 200-page report released Friday sets out 63 recommendations.
“The report underscores the importance of achieving equality for First Nations and closing the gap in health services between First Nations and other people in Canada, clearly indicating a need for greater commitment from service providers, including medical and non-medical staff, cultural competency and cultural safety, as well as increased support for Aboriginal health care workers,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “This report demands a response from the provinces and the federal government through the Canada Health Transfer in terms of increasing investments to health systems to ensure adequate resources system-wide. We look forward to seeing the implementation of this report’s recommendations with the full participation of First Nations.”
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.
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