CHATHAM, Ont. — Ontario's doctors, represented by the Ontario Medical Association, have submitted a comprehensive set of recommendations to the provincial government ahead of the upcoming budget that address critical health-care priorities.
“While these solutions will not solve every issue, taking Ontario doctors' advice today will get the system out of crisis mode,” said OMA President Dr. Andrew Park. “The strains on the health-care system have ballooned over the decades. It will take decades to fix these issues, but we must start somewhere. And we must start now.”
The OMA's Prescription for Ontario: Doctors’ Solutions for Immediate Action outlines 11 strategic initiatives that should be included in the 2024-25 provincial budget to ensure we have a sustainable and efficient health-care system.
The three key priorities include:
This initiative is a legacy-defining opportunity for this government. Currently, 2.3 million Ontarians do not have a family physician, and this will balloon to 4.4 million by 2026 unless something is done. The association calls for a rapid expansion of team-based care, a sustainable strategy for northern and rural physician workforce and increased investments in practice-ready assessments. The goal is to ensure at least 50 per cent of Ontarians have access to team-based care by March 31, 2026.
The average family physician spends almost 40 per cent of their work week on administrative tasks that take them away from patients. To enable doctors to focus on patient care, the OMA proposes creating a centralized intake and referral system, streamlining forms, reducing sick notes and referral letters, and funding the use of artificial intelligence scribes.
Far too many Ontarians are languishing in hospital beds when they could be discharged and better cared for elsewhere. The OMA is urging the government to address hospital overcrowding by appropriately funding home care and home-care providers, exploring programs for hospital-level care at home, embedding care co-ordinators within primary care and Ontario Health Teams, providing long-term care homes with necessary equipment, and ensuring universal access to palliative care.
“We believe that tangible action on these solutions will send a strong and confident message to the people Ontario, its doctors and others in the health-care workforce that this government is committed to building a better system,” said OMA CEO Kimberly Moran. “We would like to work with the government to make these solutions a reality and improve access to care for all Ontarians.”
The Ontario Medical Association represents Ontario’s 43,000-plus physicians, medical students and retired physicians, advocating for and supporting doctors while strengthening the leadership role of doctors in caring for patients. Our vision is to be the trusted voice in transforming Ontario’s health-care system.
For more information, please contact:
Emily English, OMA media relations, at email@example.com.