Statement from Ontario's Doctors

TORONTO, March 27, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - On behalf of Ontario's doctors, the Ontario Medical Association has reviewed the provincial budget documents and has some serious concerns about the government's ability to appropriately care for our aging and growing population. The government commits in the budget to improving access to doctors and same day services, but the budget proposes to put a cap on the budget that pays for those things for the next fiscal year. The OHIP budget also pays for new medical graduates, new doctors coming to the province, and for health services such as hip and knee surgeries, tests and treatments for children and their families, and most other medically necessary services in Ontario.

At a time when we know that the population is aging and growing, and the demand for services will continue to increase, doctors have serious concerns about what a cap on the OHIP budget will mean for patients and families. Doctors are worried that the progress we've made to improve wait times and protect access to care will be lost or get worse.

Ontario's doctors understand the fiscal challenges the government faces. To demonstrate that commitment we've actively found efficiencies that don't negatively impact on patient care. To date, we've already helped find over $240 million that has been reinvested back into the system.

The number one priority for Ontario's doctors is protecting patient access to services and care. This budget jeopardizes the ability of patients to get the care they need. The government has laid out an ambitious agenda to transform the health care system, but they will have difficulty achieving any of their goals if they don't make the necessary investments into health care.

Ontario's doctors have a history of working with the government to address and fix challenges in our health care system and it will be important to strike the appropriate balance between finding efficiencies and protecting patient care. We hope the government shares this view.

As negotiations for a new Agreement continue, protecting patient care will require that the government fulfill their commitment to respect fair bargaining processes. Public statements that threaten this process and put our progress and success at risk send a negative message to the hard-working physicians in Ontario, who have been working longer and harder to improve access to patients. As doctors, we will focus on patients, improving their health and well-being and ensuring they have access to the right care when they're sick.

Stewart Kennedy, MD


Ontario Medical Association