TORONTO, Feb. 18, 2016 /CNW/ - Nearly 90 per cent of Ontarians believe funding for the care doctors provide should be a priority in the upcoming provincial budget, according to a new public opinion poll.
"Since February 2015, the Ontario government has cut nearly seven per cent to funding that goes towards all of the necessary care that doctors provide," said Dr. Mike Toth, President of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA). "In addition, the government has unilaterally imposed a hard cap on the funding it will provide for physician services, despite the fact that we have a growing and aging population that are driving an increase in the need for medical care."
A new public opinion poll independently conducted by Angus Reid Forum and commissioned by the OMA, reveals that 89 per cent of Ontarians believe funding for doctors should be a priority in the upcoming 2016 provincial budget. The poll also reveals that:
- Only 29 per cent of Ontarians believe the provincial government is doing a good job managing the health-care system (fully 47% believe they are doing a poor job); and
- Only 30 per cent of Ontarians believe the provincial government is doing a good job ensuring Ontarians have access to the doctors they need.
"The ongoing cuts in funding to the doctors Ontarians rely on are clearly offside the opinion of the vast majority of Ontarians," said Dr. Toth, "The results of this latest poll should cause the government to rethink its approach to funding for the province's doctors."
In addition to the overwhelming polling results, more than 58,000 Ontarians have signed a petition or signed up online to oppose the government's ongoing cuts to the necessary care doctors provide every day. Furthermore, the proposal to fully fund medical care finished first in the Budget Talks health care category, as voted on by Ontarians as part of the government's online pre-budget consultations.
"I'm proud of the work Ontario's doctors have done in bringing together concerned citizens who oppose the government's ongoing cuts to funding for physician services," said Dr. Toth. "If the government won't listen to or work with Ontario's doctors, it's our hope it will listen to the voters who elected it to office."
A growing number of patients across Ontario are speaking out: "As a palliative care volunteer, mother of two and daughter-in-law with elder care responsibilities, I'm very concerned about the health system and see how difficult it is for some people to get the care they need," said Daryl Webber of Manotick. "I've signed the petition put forth by doctors, written letters to the Premier and Minister of Health, and followed the Ontario government's pre-budget consultations because it's clear that cuts to physician services will only hurt patients."
Each petition, which calls on the government to resume negotiations with Ontario's doctors to reach an agreement that protects quality, patient-focused care, is sent to the government, as well as individual members of the provincial legislature, who are formally presenting them into the legislature. Ontarians who sign-up online in support of the province's doctors receive updates on the government's ongoing cuts to funding for physician services and are provided the tools needed to have their concerns and voices heard.
Budget Talks is an online consultation tool the Ontario government says is offered for the public to help shape policies and programs that will be part of the province's future.
An online survey conducted by Angus Reid Forum with a sample size of 799 residents of Ontario, representative of the province based on age, gender and region, was fielded from February 3 to 4, 2016. A random sample of this size would yield a margin of error of +3.46 per cent.
The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) represents more than 34,000 physicians and medical students across the province. Ontario's doctors work closely with patients to encourage healthy living practices and illness prevention. In addition to delivering front-line services to patients, Ontario's doctors play a significant role in helping shape health care policy, as well as implementing initiatives that strengthen and enhance Ontario's health care system.
SOURCE Ontario Medical Association
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