TORONTO, April 27, 2017 /CNW/ - In the face of long wait times for tests and procedures and hospital overcrowding, the provincial government has pledged to increase the Ontario health-care budget by an average of 3.3 per cent per year until 2019-20. This necessary increase in spending provides needed relief to an underfunded health-care system.
For years, we have urged the government to adequately fund the health-care system in order to avoid the deterioration of patient care and access issues that doctors see on the front-line every day. The government's decision to fund less than half of the growth in the system was shortsighted, but today they have shown a willingness to invest more in health.
Funding for more surgical procedures will help address wait times, many of which exceed the government's own targeted benchmarks. Investments in hospitals come at a crucial time, as their budgets have been frozen and restrained for far too long. Furthermore, additional mental health services and pharma care for Ontarians 24 years of age or under could, if implemented properly, improve needed access and treatment options for patients.
In this budget, the provincial government responded to our call for a much needed dementia strategy, which is necessary to ensure that treatment, services and supports are available to patients and caregivers across the province.
Improvements to health care have not only been stalled by underfunding, but also because the government has excluded doctors from decisions about changes in the system. Many of the programs outlined in this budget will necessitate the skills, knowledge and expertise of Ontario's doctors, which will require the provincial government to repair and restore its relationship with the profession.
While there was no funding earmarked specifically for physician services in the budget, we are pleased to see the government reiterate its commitment to securing binding arbitration with Ontario's doctors.
Dr. Rachel Forman
Spokesperson, Ontario Medical Association
SOURCE Ontario Medical Association
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