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Ontario Medical Review
Oct. 25, 2021
Dr. Adam Kassam
OMA President

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of the Ontario Medical Review magazine.

The time to speak is now

Help influence political platforms and improve patient care

As we face yet another wave of the coronavirus and seek innovative ways to increase immunization efforts, we are reminded of the endless opportunities for us to contribute to the overall health care of our communities. 

As physicians, we make a difference in the lives of our patients and communities every day. We see first hand where the system is strong and where there is room for improvement, among all specialties and across regions. We may not have joined this profession expecting to be patient advocates or system-level thinkers, but over time we have gained the experience and the drive to push for change as we are living the policies. 

I know this is a difficult time to be a physician. Burnout among members is high and the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated long-standing issues within the system such as equitable access to care, the need for improved and expanded home care, long-term care and palliative care, and a reduction in the backlog of services and wait times. This has had a real and lasting effect on how we practice. 

Get the full plan

We need a more collective way of thinking about health care, one that focuses on solutions, strengthens the alignment between patient priorities and system capacity, and directs provincial financial and human resources toward the best possible health outcomes.

Download Prescription for Ontario

The future of our health-care system is in a precarious state and there is no one better to tell your story than you.

Oftentimes, we’re so busy with our day-to-day work, we can barely keep up with our personal commitments with family and friends. I understand that I am asking a lot when I suggest that if you have the time and motivation, that you take part in our advocacy campaign to improve health care in Ontario.

So, why should you care? First of all, it affects you directly. For all the little annoyances and system improvements you notice every day, thinking, ‘this needs to be fixed’ — it can. The future of our health-care system is in a precarious state and there is no one better to tell your story than you.

Write in. Let us know what you’re seeing on the ground, or better yet, become a health-care advocate and join me as I meet with MPPs from across the province to tell them directly.

The experts on our team are working to position Ontario’s doctors as leaders with solutions to the improvements needed in our health-care system. And we need you.

We are in the middle of negotiations and there is a provincial election slated for next spring. The Conservatives, NDP, Liberal and Green parties are all turning their heads to the key themes of their campaign and developing platforms now — that’s why it’s so important that we engage them before their ideas are solidified. If we lay the groundwork now, we have a very good chance of our ideas and policy suggestions being embedded in their platforms.

Every time you curse at your fax machine or wish that your EMR was integrated with others — this is your reminder.

Now is your chance to get involved, to join us in meeting with platform committees, and letter-writing campaigns and speaking in the media. Help be a part of the effort to bring about system-wide changes that will improve our day-to-day lives and support better patient care.