Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015 Toronto, ON
– Ontario’s doctors welcome the government’s discussion paper on reforms to the province’s health-care system. The discussion paper contains many of the guiding principles doctors have long advocated for, including ensuring access to a family doctor for all Ontarians, equitable access to inter-professional care, effective integration of patient care, and timely and appropriate access.
Many of the proposed reforms promise to help improve Ontario’s health-care system. However, strengthening patient-focused care, which the government has indicated is a key priority of these reforms, cannot be achieved while the government continues to cut funding for physician services. Since February 2015, the government has cut by almost seven per cent the funding for the necessary care Ontario’s doctors provide to patients.
Furthermore, long-term system transformation necessitates a long-term, stable funding mechanism. That is why Ontario’s doctors have asked for a binding dispute resolution mechanism, which would provide a permanent and stable framework in which Ontario’s doctors and the government could work collaboratively to make decisions about the future of the health-care system. The government has so far refused this request, which is why in October 2015 Ontario’s doctors launched a Charter challenge against the Government of Ontario.
Given the magnitude of the changes being considered and the lack of details provided, Ontario’s doctors have concerns with the timeline laid out for discussion. Any reform to Ontario’s health-care system must draw on the expertise and ideas of doctors, who are on the front lines providing care to patients every day.
At its Board of Directors meeting this week, the Ontario Medical Association endorsed the creation of a Primary Health Care Advisory Group. Ontario’s doctors and the government have worked as partners in the past to improve the province’s health-care system. We remain willing to return to working together.
Dr. Mike Toth,
Ontario Medical Association