It is certainly a difficult time to be a doctor in Ontario. It is two years since we’ve had a contract with the government. The population of the province continues to grow and age. The stress of living in a province with a burgeoning deficit and the additional burden this places on citizens does take its toll. If people feel this additional burden through health problems, they will seek out medical assistance, available to them through their family physician and the specialists they regularly see.

What is remarkable during this period of uncertainty is that doctors in Ontario continue to work as they always have. They may put up posters, gather petitions and plan activities to raise awareness about the government’s attitude, but, in their offices, they provide the same care they have always provided.

Ontario’s doctors are also considering the introduction of a difficult new national policy on physician assisted death. There are new guidelines to learn in an area of medicine that is and will be fraught with significant moral and ethical dilemmas, dilemmas that arise at a time when patients are suffering and their families are tremendously worried. Nonetheless, doctors are doing the necessary work to prepare for this development.

Despite not having a contract, family physicians are reviewing and meeting about the Ontario Government’s introduction of Patients First. They are concerned, but putting patients first is what they do so they participate to make the program better.

Not having a contract is difficult because it means that you can’t plan for your practice. You have to wonder about paying your staff or whether you should sign a more expensive lease. You wonder how many years you will go without an increase that will help you buy the most up to date equipment. It puts you on edge, as it would any small business owner.

As an OMA Board member, I have heard a lot of doctors’ concerns. They are the concerns I have outlined. The atmosphere at meetings is tense because the stress is building and, as much as we’d like to get back to negotiating with the government, doctors want to be treated fairly and respectfully by the government.

In this atmosphere, the Ontario Health Minister, a doctor himself, blames the Ontario Medical Association for the lack of an agreement, with no acknowledgement of the efforts of Ontario doctors to keep their practices working for patients. The Minister called the OMA “intransigent” in the context of two years’ of unilateral cuts by his government to physician services. Ontario doctors want to negotiate a contract, not have fees imposed. The Minister would be correct in the assessment that we will not bend on that point.

We have also, however, been diligent, uncompromising and inflexible in the quality of care that we have provided to the people of Ontario. Access to care has not been compromised by physicians.

Can the Minister say the same?


4 thoughts on “Intransigent

  1. Hazels Angels says:

    As a caregiver I have fought for Doctors and nurses right so my daughter can get proper care. The problem many of us have are hospitals not working together. Some hospitals have access to valuable health care information about your loved one but it depends on what hospital is closer. This can mean more than one doctor is making continuous med changes. This causes confusion when visiting follow ups. We as caregivers assumed you were receiving past valuable information. I witness poor care every day and admit tingly can say first hand all Doctors, Nurses, Patients and caregivers are feeling the serious effect. Most importantly many of us caregivers are promised services so Doctors can get you out quicker and save on their budget, sadly caregivers feel the biggest pinch. Were the ones left with no job and the public is left to care for us. The whole system needs real change and better focus on taking the stress from people who want to care but are no longer able to because of their health. That is when death takes place. There are no laws to protect an ill loved one that needs valuable services and are denied. Were all working puppets and need to stand strong together. There is no blame just desperate need for changes.

  2. I feel disgusted with the Liberal Government’s lack of response to the many letters and text messages. I and many other Canadians have commented on the sad state our Prime Minister and Health Ministers ignorant response to under funding our Doctors and Healthcare. We need Doctors and Healthcare. Pick on Lawyers who gouge innocent people out of huge amounts of money.I have had three very amazing Doctors over the past years, they should not be treated like dirt when our Prime Minister gives out billions of dollar plus give themselves a raise in pay. I can not respect them . They know about Put Patients first.Also that it costs money to pay staff and office expenses. I have lost complete respect for the Government.

  3. Bev cowan says:

    This government has made a complete mess of our health care. Putting MBAs in charge of hospitals was stupid. They are trained for profit and hospitals are for service. The money that has been spent on making hospital waiting rooms like fancy hotel lobbies with lots of bells and whistles and up to date magazines is a total waste of our health care dollars. That is one of the many ways this government has screwed up what was once a well run health care system.

  4. Paul Conte says:

    “We have also, however, been diligent, uncompromising and inflexible in the quality of care that we have provided to the people of Ontario. Access to care has not been compromised by physicians.”

    1) If the above is true, what is the impetus for the government to change anything? They get the same standard of medical care at less cost. Why not keep cutting since doctors are in a legislative straight jacket and will keep working as hard, if not harder to maintain quality and access…

    2) However, the above is not true. Why else would the OMA be out there in public with ads saying that access and quality of care will be compromised by government actions? Clinics are closing or reducing hours/services provided, doctors are retiring or leaving, new graduates are fleeing. That is the reality and the truth…

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