2021 pre-budget submission
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the cracks and gaps in our health-care system. Some of these are long-standing issues where Ontario’s doctors have previously pressed for change. Others are vulnerabilities and unintended consequences that became only evident during the stress of the pandemic.
All Ontarians deserve to receive the best care possible, as quickly as possible. No one should have to wait a second longer than necessary for medical care. Delayed medical care results in worse outcomes for patients.
Our health care recovery is also linked to our economic recovery. Ontario cannot have a healthy economy without a healthy population, and that cannot happen without a health care system that is as efficient and effective as possible.
But while the pandemic has presented an unprecedented crisis in health-care service access and delivery, it also provided an opportunity to speed up needed changes in access, prevention, and alternate models of care delivery.
Effects of COVID-19 on our health care system
The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted our health-care system, including a major backlog of patient services. As of December 31, 2020, more than 13.9 million medical procedures and services have been missed or delayed–almost one for every Ontarian. This has led to poor health outcomes, longer wait times for patients, and increases in hallway medicine.
At the same time, wait time challenges that existed prior to the pandemic are significantly compounded, and our population is aging with more complex and comorbid health needs. This means Ontarians’ health-care demands are outpacing the infrastructure required to address them.
We all have an obligation to recognize the significant challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented, and it is the collective responsibility of government and all allied health professionals to collaborate to meet the health needs for all Ontarians.
It is in this context that the OMA calls on the government in its 2020-21 Provincial Budget to take action to address pressing need in three critical areas:
- community-based medical infrastructure
- public health
- long-term care