Strong Health Care Fosters a Strong Kitchener-Waterloo Community

KITCHENER, ON, June 28, 2012 /CNW/ - Strong health care is the cornerstone of any vibrant, growing community, as it attracts new families, new business and new economic investment. That was the message Dr. Doug Weir, President of the Ontario Medical Association, delivered in a keynote speech to the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce. With a by-election coming in Kitchener-Waterloo, Dr. Weir said voters should ask all candidates where they stand on the Ontario government's plan to unilaterally impose $1 billion in cuts to OHIP that is putting Ontario's economy and health care system at risk.

The government's cuts to health programs and physician fees will result in increased wait times for medical procedures and make it harder to recruit and retain doctors. Despite recent improvements, it also means that that the 20,000 patients in the Kitchener-Waterloo area who still don't have a family doctor will either wait longer to find one or won't be able to find one at all.

A recent Nanos Research survey of Ontario's doctors shows 41% would consider moving out of Ontario and 33% would consider retiring early if the cuts are carried out.

There is no greater indicator of quality of life than timely access to a strong health care system. When a community, like Kitchener-Waterloo, is known for being a healthy place to live, work and raise a family, it attracts investment, new job opportunities, commerce and economic growth. If a community cannot attract and retain doctors, it will have a difficult time attracting and retaining business.

Quotes:

"A highly functioning and vibrant health care system - where better care is being provided and where patients are healthier - helps attract jobs and investments and helps build a stronger Ontario."

"The government's 'take it or leave it' approach will force many doctors to consider other more welcoming jurisdictions... We must create an environment that helps recruit and retain physicians, not drive them away."

Dr. Doug Weir
President, Ontario Medical Association

Quick Facts:

  •  Nearly one million Ontarians do not have access to a family physician, including over 20,000 in Kitchener-Waterloo.
  • While Ontario is cutting physician fees, other Canadian provinces - including Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan - have negotiated fee increases.
  • The United States is projecting a physician shortage of 90,000 doctors by 2015, including over 40,000 family physicians.
  • Visit www.supportontariodoctors.ca to learn more about the impact of the Ontario government's unilateral cuts to health care and how you can support Ontario's doctors today.

SOURCE Ontario Medical Association

For further information:

OMA Media Relations at (416) 340-2862 or toll-free at 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2862
media@oma.org
www.oma.org
@Ontariosdoctors


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