Tory tackles Ontario doctor shortage



    McGuinty Liberals' absence on issue has made the problem worse

    LONDON, ON, Sept. 12 /CNW/ - Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader John
Tory committed today that a PC government will provide much needed help to
over one million Ontario adults and 130,000 children who cannot find a family
doctor.
    "Too many families - and far too many children - do not have access to a
family doctor. Our plan will make Ontario the destination of choice for
doctors," said Tory. "In the past four years, under Mr. McGuinty's watch, the
doctor shortage problem has only become worse."

    
    John Tory's government will take real action to increase the number of
doctors in Ontario. Tory said the Ontario PC plan will:

    -   Introduce a comprehensive, long-term physician recruitment strategy,
        to reverse the trend of doctors fleeing Ontario;
    -   Act to bring some of the 9,000 Canadian-trained doctors now
        practicing in the United States back home to Ontario;
    -   Attract experienced doctors from outside Canada through a
        comprehensive system to recognize foreign credentials;
    -   Defer debt repayment for Ontario medical residents to keep them in
        Ontario, in the practice of their choice;
    -   Provide alternatives to retirement to retain our most experienced
        doctors; and,
    -   Introduce the electronic health record, to better ensure patient
        safety and enable doctors to spend more time with patients, and less
        on paperwork.

    In 2003, Dalton McGuinty promised that alleviating the doctor shortage
problem would be a priority for his government. Instead, the doctor shortage
problem is worse today than it was when Dalton McGuinty was elected:

    -   In 2003, the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) was quoted in the
        McGuinty Liberal platform stating that "our severe doctor shortage
        affects nearly one million people." This year, the OMA states,
        "Ontario is short 2,000 doctors affecting one million patients (18+)
        and 130,000 children."
    -   The number of doctors leaving Ontario for other provinces has jumped
        24% since 2003, and Ontario lost more doctors than we attracted for
        the first time in recent history.
    -   Since 2003, about 50% fewer family doctors are accepting new patients
        in Ontario.

    "Dalton McGuinty's approach to tackling the doctor shortage left us worse
off than we were four years ago," said Tory. "Our plan is one of action - a
plan that will make a real difference in keeping the doctors we have and
attracting new physicians to Ontario."

    Aussi disponible en français


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                   FOR A BETTER ONTARIO: LEADERSHIP MATTERS
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                                 Backgrounder
        Better planning for better health care - addressing Ontario's
                               doctor shortage
    

    Too many Ontario families do not have a family doctor. Too many Ontario
families face extraordinary wait times for important medical procedures. When
it comes to health care, one thing matters most - results. Unlike Dalton
McGuinty, John Tory's approach to health care is not only about the dollars,
but also about tangible results and improvements. The province needs a unified
plan for a healthier Ontario, from attracting and retaining the skilled people
we need to making the most out of every health care dollar. John Tory's plan
for Ontario
    A John Tory PC government will provide significant annual increases in
funding for healthcare. By the fourth year of our mandate, total annual
funding will be $8.5 billion over 2007-08 levels.
    One major area of investment in the Ontario PC health care plan is an
additional $400 million in new annual investments by 2011-12 to retain and
recruit doctors and nurses. This includes a comprehensive long-term physician
recruitment strategy, deferral of loan payments for medical graduates during
residency, strengthened support for nurses by implementing an 80/20 mentoring
strategy and a commitment to 70 per cent full time employment for nurses.

    
    The Ontario PC plan contains real solutions for increasing the number of
    doctors in Ontario.

    -   We will introduce a comprehensive, long-term physician recruitment
        strategy, to reverse the trend of doctors fleeing Ontario;
    -   We will act to bring some of the 9,000 Canadian-trained doctors now
        practicing in the United States, back home to Ontario;
    -   We will attract experienced doctors from outside Canada through a
        comprehensive system to recognize foreign credentials;
    -   We will defer debt repayment for Ontario medical residents to keep
        them in Ontario, in the practice of their choice; and,
    -   We will provide alternatives to retirement to retain our most
        experienced physicians.
    

    Dalton McGuinty has not delivered results.

    Dalton McGuinty has proven that he'll say whatever he thinks the people
want to hear - whether true or not. In this case, the facts speak for
themselves. The Liberal platform in 2003 claimed that one million people were
affected by the severe doctor shortage; in June of this year, the government
announced that one million Ontarians are currently without a family doctor.
One million then; one million now. And his new platform contains no plan to
address the worsening doctor shortage - even though McGuinty's Health Minister
told OMA students this year that his government would have a doctor retention
strategy in its re-election platform.

    According to the Ontario Medical Association, one million adults and
    130,000 children do not have a family doctor.

    Orphan patients are left to seek out treatment in crowded emergency rooms
and walk-in clinics. Orphan patients do not receive the ongoing professional
care they deserve.
    A John Tory PC Government will ensure that Ontarians have access to
family doctors by increasing the number of doctors in Ontario.

    
    Ontario's doctor shortage is worsening:

    -   Since 2003, the number of Ontario communities designated as under
        serviced has increased from 122 to 142.
    -   According to the OMA in February 2007, Ontario needs more than
        2000 doctors; 1 in 9 Ontarians do not have a family doctor.
    -   The percentage of doctors accepting new patients has fallen more than
        50% since Dalton McGuinty took office to fewer than one in 10 and as
        low as one in 23 in Southwestern Ontario.
    -   Since Dalton McGuinty took office - and for the first time in
        Ontario's history - Ontario lost more doctors than it gained, while
        other provinces benefited.

    Only a John Tory PC Government will provide you and your family with a
    high-quality health care system that works when you need it.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    2003                2006
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Percentage of Ontario doctors
     taking new patients                            20.2                 9.6
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    Communities designated as
     under-serviced                                122(*)                142
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    Number of Ontarians without                                  1 million +
     a family doctor                                                 130,000
                                             1 million(*)           children
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    Ontario net inter-provincial
     migration of doctors                    Net gain 61         Net loss 14
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    (*) Numbers from 2003 Liberal platform, page 12
    

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/




For further information:

For further information: Mike Van Soelen, Tel: (647) 722-1760

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