TORONTO, Oct. 20, 2016 /CNW/ - Ontario's doctors are focused on making health care the priority in the upcoming by-elections in Niagara West—Glanbrook and Ottawa—Vanier. The Ontario government is currently making profound changes to the health-care system – without the input of doctors, who have been without a contract for more than two years and who have faced multiple unilateral cuts of funding for the necessary physician services they provide.
Ontario's Doctors are calling on the candidates from all parties to make their health-care priorities clear in their campaigns.
"Rising rates of chronic disease, the increasing care needs of our aging population, and growing wait times for tests and procedures are only a few of the challenges physicians and their patients face on a daily basis," said Dr. Virginia Walley, President of the Ontario Medical Association. "By-election candidates must demonstrate an understanding of the importance of addressing these concerns and a willingness to use the expertise and experience that Ontario's doctors bring to the table in any discussion about the health-care system."
In particular, Dr. Walley called on by-election candidates to make their positions on the recently re-introduced Bill 41 clear. "This legislation was drafted without the input of doctors and will make some fundamental changes to the physician-patient relationship. Bill 41 needs to be withdrawn and the Ontario government needs to meet with doctors to start a discussion about the real reforms that are required in our health-care system. More bureaucracy and administrative cost are simply not the answer."
Recent data show that over the past year wait times for cataract surgery, and MRI and CT scans have risen well beyond the Ontario government's provincial wait-time targets.
- Wait time for cataract surgery May-Jul 2015 = 187 days vs. May-Jul 2016 = 208 days (provincial target = 182 days)
- Wait time for MRI scan in May-Jul 2015 = 88 days vs. May-Jul 2016 =101 days (provincial target = 28 days)
- Wait time for CT scan in May-Jul 2015 = 47 days vs. May-Jul 2016 = 56 days (provincial target = 28 days)
Ontario's doctors strongly encourage all candidates vying to replace MPPs Tim Hudak and Madeline Meilleur on November 17 to make health care their priority during the by-election, and to commit to advocating for the needs of patients in their ridings if they are elected.
These are not academic issues. Health-care statistics in Niagara and Ottawa show that these ridings are dealing with an aging population and significant rates of chronic disease.
- 21 per cent of the population has arthritis
- 9 percent of the population has diabetes
- 18 percent of the of the population has high blood pressure
- 6 percent of the population has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- 16 percent of the population is over 65 years of age
- 14 percent of the population has arthritis
- 5 percent of the population has diabetes
- 10 percent of the population has asthma
- 16 percent of the population has high blood pressure
- 3 per cent of the population has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- 11 percent of the population is over 65 years of age
"Patients in Niagara and Ottawa deserve a representative who will advocate for their health care and for the doctors who patients depend on," said Dr. Walley. "Every candidate needs to make clear his or her plan for health care in Ontario – not just during the by-election, but every day afterward. Our patients deserve nothing less."
The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) represents more than 42,000 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
For further information: please contact: Nadia Daniell-Colarossi, Manager Media Relations, Office: 416-340-2970 or 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2970, Mobile: 416-804-4600, Email: [email protected]