Health care needs to be a priority in provincial budget: Ontario's Doctors

TORONTO, April 8, 2015 /CNW/ - Ontario's doctors call on the government to live up to its responsibility to fund the health care needs of all Ontarians appropriately by including funding for all the needed growth in the upcoming provincial budget.

"The government is creating a track record of cutting funding to health care services across the province as a way to tackle the $10.9 billion deficit it created, but this means a decrease in access to quality care for patients," says Dr. Ved Tandan, President of the Ontario Medical Association. "Just a few weeks ago 50 registered nursing positions were cut from the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. This is another example of a mounting problem for people across the province. In January, the government announced it would no longer be funding the unmet needs of our current population, or the growth in medical needs that comes from adding 140,000 new patients to the system every year and an aging population that requires more complex care."

The OMA Board of Directors unanimously rejected the government's final offer back in January that would have hurt patients; the government responded by imposing even harsher conditions on doctors and patients.

"The government talks about the 4,000 new doctors working in Ontario compared to 2003 – those much-needed physicians are providing care to more than 2.5 million Ontarians who didn't even have a family doctor a decade ago – and despite these gains 900,000 Ontarians still don't have a family doctor," says Dr. Tandan. "Without adequately investing in health care to meet the needs of our aging and growing population, people will have to wait longer for care and it will be more difficult for those without a family doctor to find one."

To make matters worse, additional cuts that were implemented just last week that will make it much more difficult for many specialists to provide the services and level of care that some of our most complex patients with chronic diseases need.

The OMA made a counter offer that would see physician's fees frozen for two years if the government agreed to fund all the necessary growth in the health care system.

"Ontario's doctors are aware of the financial challenges facing the government and we are willing to do our part – that is why we made our reasonable counter offer – but the government needs to live up to its responsibility to care for all Ontarians," Dr. Tandan says.

SOURCE Ontario Medical Association

For further information: OMA Media Relations, 416-340-2862 or toll-free at 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2862, media@oma.org

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