Ontario's doctors deliver strong messages to MPPs about improving health care

TORONTO, March 29, 2017 /CNW/ - Today, doctors from across the province participated in an advocacy day at Queen's Park to voice their concerns about their ability to provide timely access to necessary medical care while government pushes through poorly thought out changes in the health-care system.

"More than 75 doctors made time to meet with MPPs on top of running their busy clinics in order to ensure that all of our provincial leaders understand the challenges in our system and the role doctors play in developing solutions that meet the needs of patients," said Dr. Rachel Forman, Ontario Medical Association spokesperson. "The government's alarming trend of ignoring our advocacy efforts for the past number of years has weakened our health-care system overall."   

Doctors met with over 40 MPPs, including leaders of the opposition parties, health critics, Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Eric Hoskins. During these meetings doctors raised concerns about the negative impacts that could result from Bill 87, and the approach in both Bill 87 and the recently passed 41 to introduce more bureaucracy in response to challenges in the health-care system. Doctors are also proposing necessary changes to protect physicians' conscientious' objection in Bill 84, Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD), while ensuring patients can access the medical services they seek.

"Our discussions with MPPs today were productive and we were able to start a dialogue with Premier Wynne and Minister Hoskins, which we hope will continue," said Dr. Forman. "The need for government to re-engage with doctors is essential if improving patient care is truly one of their priorities."

Doctors have been without a contract for three years and as a result subjected to multiple cuts and imposed decisions by the provincial government. In response to the clear power imbalance that allows government to act unilaterally, doctors have been requesting access to binding interest arbitration, a fair process afforded to all other essential service providers.  

Until recently, government refused this request, but has now committed to negotiating a binding arbitration framework in order to achieve a fair agreement with doctors.

"Unfortunately, the government's on-going refusal to consider binding arbitration left doctors with no other choice but to plan for job action and we continue to mobilize in the event that government does not fulfill its commitment to negotiate a binding arbitration framework," said Dr. Forman. "No doctor envisioned going down this path, we hope job action doesn't become necessary – but if it is needed we will be prepared."

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: Nadia Daniell-Colarossi, Manager Media Relations, Office: 416-340-2970 or 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2970, Mobile: 416-804-4600, Email: nadia.daniell-colarossi@oma.org; Danielle Milley, Senior Advisor Media Relations, Office: 416-599-2580 or 1-800-268-7215 ext. 3008, Mobile: 647-300-0081, Email: danielle.milley@oma.org


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