New OMA President says Health Care Should Be a Priority in Provincial Election

TORONTO, May 1, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today, Dr. Stewart Kennedy becomes the 130th President of the Ontario Medical Association and brings with him a commitment to ensure health care is a priority in the upcoming provincial election. Dr. Kennedy commended the work that has been done over the past decade to improve patients' access to high quality health care, but noted there is more work to be done.

Dr. Kennedy pointed to a policy platform that was released earlier this year by Ontario's doctors entitled, "Better care. Healthier patients. A stronger Ontario." The document presented a thoughtful and practical set of 41 policy recommendations that will have a positive impact on patient care and help strengthen Ontario's health-care system. Ontario's doctors hope political parties will incorporate some of these recommendations into their respective platforms.

"With the upcoming provincial election, there is no better time to start building a stronger, more patient focused health care system. Ontario's doctors know that health care is a priority among Ontarians and we hope all political parties will make health care a priority in the election on October 6th." - Dr. Stewart Kennedy, President, Ontario Medical Association

Dr. Kennedy has been practicing comprehensive family medicine with active hospital privileges in Thunder Bay for over 25 years. In the coming year, Dr. Kennedy will focus on a number of initiatives including:

...To develop new partnerships and work collaboratively with other Associations and stakeholders to improve access to health care services for patients across Ontario;

...Working with government and other health care partners to create a sustainable health care system for future generations;

...Promoting the expansion of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) for physicians and patients;

...and Continue to promote initiatives that enhance quality and more effective patient care.

"Ontario's doctors are committed to providing high quality care for patients, and to help identify and develop innovative strategies to ensure the health care system is well equipped to provide the care patients need, when and where they need it. Health care must be a priority in the next election." - Dr. Stewart Kennedy

Dr. Kennedy's first day as OMA President coincides with Ontario's first annual "Doctors' Day." In April the Ontario Legislature unanimously passed a motion introduced by Richmond Hill MPP, Reza Moridi. Dr. Kennedy noted that Doctors' Day provides Ontarians and patients an opportunity to show their appreciation and gratitude to the 26,000 practising doctors across the province.

Dr. Kennedy commended outgoing president Dr. Mark MacLeod for beginning the dialogue on health care sustainability leading into the provincial election.

Quick Facts

...Today, health care sector spending accounts for 46 cents of every program dollar and could consume nearly 70 cents in 12 years if left unchecked;

...Since 2004, Ontario's doctors have helped over 1.3 million patients find a physician;

...Every day Ontario doctors treat over 400,000 patients.

...By 2013, we will have doubled the number of doctors graduating from Ontario Universities every year - from 533 to 1,064.

...Over 5,000 doctors now manage patients' health information electronically, and more than 5 million Ontarians have an electronic medical record