TORONTO, APRIL 25, 2019 - The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) believes that public health is a key component of Ontario's health system. The foundational purpose for public health is to promote and protect health, and prevent disease and injury through the delivery of highly valued programs and services, ranging from vaccination, prenatal and parenting classes, to water safety programs and making sure our restaurants provide safe places to eat.
An effective, stable and sufficiently funded public health system is vital to the well-being of our communities and patients in Ontario. Immunization programs, for example measles vaccination, provide roughly 16 percent front-end savings, as the cost of disease treatment is higher than the cost of prevention.
The OMA, through its Section of Public Health Physicians, has a long and proud history of championing a strong Ontario public health system, with a strong leadership role for local Medical Officers of Health, the community's doctor. At this time of system change, the OMA and its Section of Public Health Physicians call for Ontario to maintain a strong leadership team of expertly qualified and properly credentialed public health physicians that is sufficient to support and lead the province's public health system.
Beyond commitments identified in Budget 2019, the OMA calls on the Government of Ontario to maintain core public health programs as the public health system is transformed.
“Echoing the comments from many municipal boards of health, Ontario’s doctors are concerned about the serious implication of proposed operational changes to public health units,” said Dr. Nadia Alam, President of the OMA. “Public health complements and supports primary care, and without an effective and proactive public health system, more people will get sick and hallway medicine and wait times will increase. Ontario’s doctors urge the Ontario government to work with stakeholders, including the Medical Officers of Health and other physicians in each community, to ensure that patients do not suffer due to reduction of core public health programs and services.”
"The true proof of the value of public health is demonstrated by the absence of negative health outcomes or harmful health behaviours – when people do not develop diabetes, or never start smoking," said Dr. Michael Finkelstein, Chair, Section of Public Health Physicians. "The paradox of public health is that when it works, the benefits are largely invisible. Counting the number of children contracting measles is easy; counting those who didn't get measles because they were vaccinated is more difficult, but may be more valuable."
About the OMA
The Ontario Medical Association is a membership organization that represents the political, clinical and economic interests of doctors in Ontario. Our 41,000 members are practicing and retired doctors, residents and medical students.
For more information, please contact:
OMA Media Relations at 416.340.2862 or toll-free at 1.800.268.7215, ext. 2862