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Much work" remains to be done on health care financing agreement

Despite growing indications from other key players that the federal government is nearing a deal with the provinces to increase health care funding in exchange for improvements to the system, federal Health Minister Jean Yves-Duclos says "there is still a lot of work to be done." before an agreement is reached.

Duclos told reporters Tuesday that it is something both sides will have to continue to work on "in the coming weeks."

Jean Yves Duclos spoke of five points the federal government wants the provinces to commit to in order to reach any agreement to increase health care funding:

We must focus on results, we must improve these results in the coming years. First, families' access to health care equipment, to medical personnel. Second, reduce delays in surgeries and diagnoses, which have caused so many problems and stress to Canadians. Third, retain, recruit and recognize the credentials of health care workers. Fourth, invest in mental health, mental health is a fundamental problem, and fifth, modernize the system so that medical records can be shared with multiple providers, electronically. The last thing we need to do is keep working over the next few weeks, because there's still a lot of work to do before we get agreement on how important those outcomes are and how we're going to get there. So yes, we all expect a final agreement at some point, but we're all very vigilant and there's still a lot of work to do before we get there.

Asked Monday about the status of the talks and how to get the provinces to sign on to an agreement with conditions, something some premiers recently expressed a willingness to do, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he hopes "to be able to announce positive steps forward. in the very near future."

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