Dec. 3, 2015 Toronto, ON – Ontario’s doctors wish to clarify a number of points that were included in the Health Human Resources section of the 2015 Auditor General’s report.
We respectfully disagree with the Auditor General’s interpretation of the changes brought in by Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care around physicians practicing in areas of high need. In fact, the changes unilaterally imposed by the Ministry were done so to save money – and not an effort to provide better access to patient care.
What changed earlier this year for new physicians looking to join group-based models of care – the model in which they are trained – was their options were limited. The government cut in half the number of doctors who were eligible to join these models and restricted them to areas unilaterally designated by the Ministry as being areas of high need.
There has been a lot of concern from places such as Windsor, Hamilton and Ottawa that they have not been designated, even though they have a need for more family doctors, and as such will have trouble recruiting much-needed family doctors at a time when there are still more than 800,000 Ontarians without a family doctor.
The report also mistakenly indicated there is a Physician Service Agreement under which these changes have been made. There currently exists no Physician Service Agreement. Ontario’s doctors have been without a PSA since March 2014. Instead, the Ministry imposed a number of unilateral cuts and changes on Ontario’s doctors beginning in February 2015.
Further, as it relates to health human resource planning, the Ontario Medical Association has been advocating for a health human resources planning body involving the OMA for a decade.
Ontario’s doctors want to be a key part of any meaningful discussion about the sustainability of the health care system, but in order to do that we need the government to come back to table with a binding dispute resolution process to reach a fair and reasonable deal with physicians that puts patients first.
Dr. Mike Toth,
Ontario Medical Association