Ontario Government is putting their budget ahead of public’s health care
Toronto, ON, Jan. 15, 2015 – Today, the Ontario Medical Association put patient care first and said no to the government’s offer that will have a negative and lasting impact on patients.
The government’s offer will cover less than half of the funding required for new doctors who are needed to treat current patients already struggling to access the care they need, for new patients coming into the health care system, as well as the more complex care required for our aging population. This will mean longer wait times to see a doctor, have a test done, or schedule surgery; decreasing overall access to care for all Ontarians.
Every year 140,000 new patients enter the health care system – that is about the population of Prince Edward Island – and as Ontario’s population ages, they require more complex care. In Ontario, we already have too few doctors to treat our current population. In fact, while we have made great strides, according to the government, there are still 900,000 people who are ‘unattached’ in the system – meaning they are without access to a family doctor.
“Patients can’t wait for the government to balance its budget,” said Dr. Ved Tandan, President of the Ontario Medical Association. “They deserve care where and when they need it.”
While individual patients will be affected, the longer-term risks to our overall health care system will be far greater. By the Ministry of Health’s own estimates, demand for medical care will grow by at least 2.7 per cent annually, and yet, the government has committed to fund less than half of that growth.
Tandan continued: “We understand and acknowledge the economic challenges facing the government. That is why we are offering the government a two-year freeze on our fees – this means there would be no increase in the fee paid for any physician service, from a standard assessment with your doctor to the most complex surgery. All we ask is that the government accept its responsibility to fund the growth in our health care system appropriately.”
In 2012, Ontario’s doctors accepted a four per cent cut, which helped to save $850 million in the system. “We did so then because we could make cuts in places that would have minimal impact on patients. Now – less than three years later – the government is planning to cut another five per cent from medical services – that’s 9 per cent in less than five years. This pattern is unsustainable if we want the best care for our patients and if we want the best doctors available in Ontario,” concluded Tandan.