An idea ahead of its time: Hastings Report 1972

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On July 21st, 1972 the “Hastings Report” (see report below) was formally submitted to the Government of Canada. 

In 1971, the Honourable John Munro, Canadian Minister of National Health and Welfare, commissioned the report as the Community Health Centres Project and appointed Dr. John E. F. Hastings as Chair.

The national Community Health Centres Project was established to collect and assess information on existing types of Community Health Centres in Canada and other selected countries, and to provide recommendations on the desirability of expanding CHCs across Canada.

During the one-year term of the project, Dr. Hastings and fellow committee members commissioned 92 position papers, received 126 briefs and conducted numerous private discussions with governmental and private agencies and individuals.

The Committee also conducted invitational seminars on physicians services, nursing services, services of allied health personnel, pharmacy services, dental services, social work services, administrative and managerial services, personnel, public health services, hospital services, mental health services, legal aspects, social policy and social services, citizen involvement, design aspects, cost and financial aspects.

The key recommendations tabled by Hastings, with unanimous approval of his committee, were the following:

  1. The development by the provinces, in mutual agreement with public and professional groups, of a significant number of Community Health Centres, as described in the Report, as non-profit corporate bodies in a fully integrated health services system.
  2. The immediate and purposeful re-organization and integration of all health services into a health services system to ensure basic health service standards for all Canadians and to assure a more economic and effective use of all health care resources.
  3. The immediate initiation by provincial governments of dialogue with the health professions and new and existing health services bodies to plan, budget, implement, coordinate and evaluate this system; the facilitation and support of these activities by the federal government through consultation services, funding, and country-wide evaluation.

To this day, federal and provincial governments have made only marginal progress in implementing these recommendations. The Hastings Report remains an inspiring vision for the improving primary health care and population health across Canada.