Ontario's Doctors Improving Access to Care for Patients

2.1 Million More Patients Now Have a Family Doctor in Ontario

TORONTO, November 3, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - New figures from the Ontario Medical Association reveal that since 2003 over 2 million more patients now have a family doctor in the province. Ontario's doctors released the new information in conjunction with the launch of the latest phase of the "Your life is our life's work" public awareness campaign. Featuring patients from around the province, this multi-layered campaign highlights that Ontario's doctors are working hard to strengthen the health care system by improving access and finding innovative ways to save the system money that can be re-invested into patient care.

"The fact that over 2 million more patients now have access to a doctor is a result of physicians working harder and more efficiently so that patients not only get the care they need, but when they need it. Ontario's doctors are very proud of this accomplishment and we are committed to continuing to work with government to strengthen the health care system." - Stewart Kennedy, MD President, Ontario Medical Association

The campaign launches as a newly elected government and MPPs return to Queen's Park following the provincial election. Ontario's doctors look forward to working with the government and all MPPs to discuss the challenges facing the health care system and to offer recommendations to improve care for patients. Some of the key priorities for Ontario's doctors include increasing patient access to physicians, expanding Electronic Medical Records, investing in children's mental health and implementing a strategy to fight childhood obesity.

Ontario's doctors are aware of the fiscal challenges facing the province and of the rising costs of health care in Ontario. This is why Ontario's doctors have been working with the government to find savings that do not negatively impact patient care. In just a short time, some $240 million in savings have been identified which can be re-invested into the health services that need it the most. Ontario's doctors are committed to continuing these discussions bilaterally with government.

"Ontario's doctors see 400,000 patients every day which gives us a unique perspective from which to offer solutions on how to improve our health care system. While we've come a long way over the last number of years, there is more work to do. Ontario's doctors will continue to offer practical solutions that will have a positive impact on patients and foster a more sustainable health care system." - Stewart Kennedy, MD President, Ontario Medical Association

Quick Facts:

Since 2003, Ontario's doctors have been working with the government on a number of initiatives aimed at improving access to care. Specifically, physicians have:

...Treated over 38 million patients in emergency rooms;

...Performed more than 975,000 cataract surgeries;

...Performed nearly 141,000 knee replacement surgeries; and

...Performed more than 90,000 hip replacement surgeries.

In addition, the latest statistics reveal that in 2009/2010, 5,800 physicians performed house calls for almost 90-thousand patients and after hours service provided by general practitioners has increased by more than 40 per cent across all practice settings.