Patients need access to doctors
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