Pa­tients need ac­cess to doc­tors

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD -

RE: Some ‘out of con­trol’ doc­tors’ billings hurt (March 24)

As rep­re­sen­ta­tives of many of Hamil­ton’s physi­cians, we feel it is im­por­tant to re­spond to the min­is­ter of health’s re­cent state­ments in Hamil­ton.

On­tario’s doc­tors don’t cre­ate de­mand for pa­tient care, we sim­ply pro­vide ser­vices pa­tients need. On­tario’s health-care sys­tem adds at least 140,000 new pa­tients ev­ery year, in ad­di­tion to peo­ple liv­ing longer with more com­plex con­di­tions. Fund­ing must ac­count for them. On­tar­i­ans ex­pect to have ac­cess to fam­ily doc­tors and spe­cial­ists, and an in­crease in physi­cian billings rep­re­sents an in­creased de­mand in On­tario for ser­vices.

Gov­ern­ment’s cuts to pay­ments for physi­cian ser­vices since Fe­bru­ary 2015, which goes to­ward all the care doc­tors pro­vide to pa­tients in On­tario, are not sus­tain­able. These cuts threaten ac­cess to the qual­ity care.

We are dis­ap­pointed the gov­ern­ment has failed to grant our re­quest for a bind­ing dis­pute-res­o­lu­tion mech­a­nism to get a fair deal that puts pa­tients first. Doc­tors rec­og­nize the need to en­sure that the health-care sys­tem is sus­tain­able, but those con­ver­sa­tions need to take place as part of the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Rather than blam­ing physi­cians for in­creased health care de­mands, the Min­istry should be en­gag­ing us to find so­lu­tions for the pa­tients who need and de­serve them.

On­tario’s doc­tors have re­peat­edly called on the gov­ern­ment to re­turn to the ta­ble and im­ple­ment a bind­ing dis­pute-res­o­lu­tion mech­a­nism in or­der to reach a fair agree­ment that pro­tects high qual­ity, pa­tient-fo­cused care in On­tario. Dr. Steve Szarka, Pres­i­dent, Hamil­ton Academy of Medicine

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