TORONTO, Jan. 29, 2017 /CNW/ – Today, at a Special Meeting of Council, doctors in Ontario affirmed their confidence in the elected leaders of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA). Physicians are united in their goal of sending a strong message to government; and, planning is now underway for job action. This is the direct result of the province's on-going refusal to grant binding arbitration, a fair process, which is afforded to all other health-care workers.
"Ontario's doctors are on the verge of job action because the government has shown itself to be completely unwilling to work with us in a productive, professional, and respectful manner," said Dr. Virginia Walley, President of the OMA. "It is with profound disappointment that we must consider job action in order to achieve binding arbitration, which is necessary to right the current power imbalance with the government. This unfair and unreasonable situation allows the government to impose a health-care agenda on Ontario patients that is being developed without the input of the people that Ontarians trust – their physicians."
Over the last three years, Ontario's doctors have seen the government impose multiple, unilateral cuts to the Physician Services Budget, which funds all of the medical care patients need. Under the current government, sweeping and short-sighted changes to health-care legislation have been pushed through–ignoring input from those who treat patients in the community every day.
A recent survey by the OMA shows that members are more engaged than ever, with a substantial majority endorsing the need for job action if the current government approach continues.
It is a fact that more health-care funding is needed to meet the requirements of our aging and growing population. A recent report from the Financial Accountability Office (FAO), an independent branch of the government, shows a substantial gap between what the province is willing to fund for health care and what it will actually cost to provide Ontarians with the care they need. Ontario's population is growing and aging, yet the FAO clearly points out that that the government is funding less than half of the growth in demand for the necessary care that physicians provide. At the same time, the government is cutting the funds available for front-line physician services and creating vast new, expensive bureaucracies with Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and the new sub-LHINs.
"Physicians cannot, on behalf of our patients and the integrity of the system, allow the government to attack health care any longer," said Dr. Walley. "The government is knowingly underfunding the medically necessary care that patients need and have forced the creation of long wait-lists for tests and treatments."
No further public comment on the Special Meeting of OMA Council will be made at this time.
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