With the government’s announcement of more cuts to physician services, I am going Toronto for several meetings including the Ontario Medical Association Board. After my last blog, however, I wanted to make sure readers knew about other physician bloggers and a few letter writers whose work engages both physicians and the public in some debate about the service reductions that have occurred. I feel the work of these doctors does raise awareness of what is happening with physician services, especially since the evidence of the impact of the cuts is buffered for patients by doctors themselves.
Let me mention a few letter writers first.
I have been very impressed by how many letters Dr. Charles Shaver of Ottawa has published. I do not always agree with his perspective, but I do appreciate his persistence, since doctors in Ontario need to be persistent to get the public engaged in what it happening to their healthcare. Dr. Shaver is a General Internist in Eastern Ontario. Here is an example of one of his letters to the editor:
Dr. Lisa Habermehl and Dr. Mandy Spencer of Woodlands Medical Associates in Kenora, Ontario wrote a very moving letter to the “Citizens of Kenora and Northwestern Ontario” in what appears to be the first entry in a blog. It summarizes the impact of the cuts already on patient care and considers how else care might be affected in the future. This is their letter: https://woodlandskenora.wordpress.com/ You can also follow also follow Dr. Habermehl on twitter at @NWOdoctor.
I am also very impressed by Dr. Adam Stewart’s office website which includes information on the cuts to physician services for his patients and a very moving letter to the Premier and Health Minister. This is the link to his website: http://www.stewartmedicine.com/?page_id=88 Dr. Stewart sought and received the support of the Council of the Municipality of Centre Hastings in opposing the cuts to physician services. He tweeted the letter he received and their motion so he is worth following on twitter as well at @stewartmedicine
Dr. Darren Cargill (@reasonablewlvrn) had this letter published in the Windsor Star just last week: http://blogs.windsorstar.com/open-newsroom/letters/doctors-dont-control-health-care-demand He is a palliative care physician in Windsor.
There are two other Ontario Medical Association Board member bloggers. Many people following me will know of Dr. Shawn Whatley’s blog at http://shawnwhatley.com/ Dr. Whatley is located in Mount Albert, Ontario. Dr. Lesley Barron is a General Surgeon who blogs at this website: https://canadianfemalesurgeon.wordpress.com/ Dr. Barron’s practice is in Georgetown. Both are also on twitter at @shawn_whatley and @SimonRBarron
A past OMA President, Dr. Scott Wooder, has become a proficient and prolific blogger in the past year. His writing has mostly been focused on the physician services cuts. He often highlights aspects of a situation that many forget so he is also worth following: https://drscottwooder.wordpress.com/ . Dr. Wooder tweets at @ScottWooder
After publishing my last blog, I saw more call for OMA action in two days than I have heard in eight months. I am happy to have twitter and my comments so active since it shows that there is concern about the clawbacks beyond a few physicians and OMA Council. I am asking for one small favour. Please include @OntariosDoctors in your tweets and be sure to write to your Board members. Those Board members who are blogging express our own opinions. We do hear your concerns but if only a few Board members hear these concerns, it makes us seem more like lightning rods than barometers.
Thank you to everyone tweeting, writing letters and making your views known. It’s good to know you’re out there! I did seek and received permission to use Dr. Habermehl’s and Dr. Spencer’s letter as well as Dr. Stewart’s. Drs Wooder, Whatley and Barron gave me permission to cite their blogs. Dr. Cargill’s and Dr. Shaver’s letters are in the public domain. I want to thank them especially for their work. It takes a lot of courage to speak out, over and over, as they have done. They also make me feel that I am in good company.