I hear other members shouting. Obviously they do not understand the difference between crisis and acute care.
I am here to say that the health care system in Canada was not well and that it needed some acute care. It has been given that acute care. It has been given the immediate acute care it needed, which is to take care of the patient now for today and for the very immediate future. We have done this by infusing $8 billion over the next five years into the transfer payments.
In terms of acute care, we have also put in place a supplementary fund of $3.5 billion so that the provinces over the next three years in ways that they see fit for their needs can take money out of the trust fund to deal with some of the more acute issues that concern them in their provinces.
What is also important in this system is not only that the diagnosis has been made but the treatment has been started. First in the treatment of dealing with the acute care of the patient was to inject funds into the system.
Second, this budget puts $1.4 billion into systems, research, accountability and looking at how we develop best practices and how we create a more effective and more efficient health care system, one that will provide a high quality of care. That is the other component of caring for patients which doctors know all about.
That component is not only to give patients the medicine needed to make them feel better immediately, but it also ensures that in the long term the rehabilitation of patients will take place, that patients will be able, as time goes on, to get better and to build a sound basis for having a better quality of life. Patients will become stronger and be able over time to extend their lives. This is the sustainability component of the budget that is key.
People like Robert Evans from the University of British Columbia, a health care economist who has spoken for health care for over 25 years, has said over and over again that what the health care system needs is not just money, that the health care system actually needs to change the way we have been doing things.
The system worked very well for us in the 1960s and the 1970s and in part of the 1980s, but as with every system that works well we need to constantly be evaluating, to be evolving and to be able to meet the newer and newer needs of patients. Things have changed in Canada.
We have an aging population and brand new technologies. These things need to be taken care of, and not just with money. We must find ways in which we can use technology appropriately and wisely. We do not need a CAT scan on every street corner. We do not need new technology in every hospital in the country, but appropriate use of technology is important.
The $1.4 billion that will go into research and into building our system will help us how to do it better. It will assist the providers of health care, the administrators, hospitals and institutions to understand how to use technology better, to understand the things we need to do to give better and more effective care, and to deal with these issues a lot better than has been done in the past.
This evolution of the system is extremely important. That is key. This is something that Mr. Evans recently said very carefully. Every royal commission over the last 15 years that has sat in every province of the country has said the same thing. It is not money alone that will fix the system. We need to change the way the system works. We need to ensure that the system is more effective, that there are guidelines for good care, that we have appropriate guidelines for technology, and that we use the system far more wisely than we have been.
I am stressing the $1.4 billion. It is nice to point to the $11.5 billion that will be going into the health care system over the next five years, but what is more important is that little $1.4 billion. That will make the system work better. That will ensure what all health care economists who understand health care have been saying over the last few years, that we need to deal with the system.
It will turn the system around. It will make a better system for us. Let us not ever believe that we are spending too little money on health care. We are one country that has been spending far more of a percentage of GDP on health care than many countries in the world with far better outcomes than we have.
Fixing the health care system has to involve looking at outcomes and at appropriate ways of dealing with the system so that the outcomes will be achieved. It is about allowing people to monitor what we are doing.
We have talked about acute care. We have talked about the rehabilitation of the system. We have talked about putting the system back on track in a new way so that it can serve 21st century Canadians better. We also need to know that health care is more than just hospitals.
Health care is about preventing disease. Health care is about assisting those who are disadvantaged in other parts of the country and need health care and prevention. One thing that is going into the new health care budget is money for aboriginal people such as the Inuit people of the country who have had very bad health outcomes over past years. This will start to make those changes.
We need to talk about prevention. We are talking about the fact that over the last few years we have seen more and more low birth weight babies. One of the reasons for low birth weight babies has to do very clearly with mothers at risk, especially at risk of poor nutrition.
The new money going into the prenatal nutrition program is very important money. We will look at how to fix the outcome of low birth weight babies. It ties very clearly into the government's focus on helping children not only when they reach the ages of six and seven but when they are beginning to develop in the first three years of their lives and pre-birth when important developmental processes are beginning in the fetus.
The health care budget is more than just an infusion of cash into the system. It is more than just the infusion of immediate acute care needs for dollars. It is building a new health care system that will serve Canadians better.
We have said before that the system is not only made up of the people who use it. It is made up of the people around the country who provide care. One thing that is most exciting about the budget is the nurse program. Some providers will get the skills and tools they need to be able to build good information systems and to be able to assist them with good practices so they can provide health care.
It will also inject some much needed morale into the system. Nurses have laboured with very little thanks and very poor remuneration for the work they do. That is why nobody wants to go into nursing any more. The $25 million endowment fund will assist nurses to start recruiting. It will give them the skills and tools—