Ontario's doctors welcome emphasis on health care in Fall Economic Statement

Saturday, 06 November 2021 10:19.AM

Ontario's doctors welcomed the emphasis on health care and pandemic recovery in today's Fall Economic Statement.

"We have just released our own recommendations on how to strengthen Ontario's health-care system and we look forward to working with the government and others on this essential work," said Dr. Adam Kassam, president of the Ontario Medical Association. "The measures in the Fall Economic Statement are a good start but there is much work to be done."

In particular, the OMA was encouraged to see the commitment to build and redevelop long-term care beds, to double the number of inspection staff in long-term care residences and to extend the Seniors Home Safety Tax Credit, which will help seniors stay in their homes safely. Improving and expanding home care and other community care is one of the five key pillars in the OMA plan to fix the gaps in the health-care system.

The government's commitment to hire more nurses and personal support workers will help improve care for seniors and other patients and help ensure the health-care system has enough workers to clear the pandemic backlog. Reducing the backlog of services and reducing wait times is another pillar in the OMA plan, as is the call for more physicians as more than 1 million Ontarians do not have a family doctor.

In addition to measures aimed at improving patient care, the OMA applauded the government's commitment to spend an additional $12.4 million to support the mental health of health-care workers.

Many physicians and other health-care workers have been on the front lines of the pandemic for 18 months, saving lives and protecting their communities, at great risk to themselves and their families.

Almost three-quarters (72.9 per cent) of physicians surveyed by the OMA said they experienced some level of burnout in 2021, up from 66 per cent the previous year. Just over one-third (34.6 per cent) reported either persistent symptoms of burnout or feeling completely burned out in 2021, up from 29 per cent in 2020.

"The OMA supports the government's call to increase federal funding of health care to 35 per cent from the current 22 per cent with an annual escalator of 5 per cent," said OMA CEO Allan O'Dette. "We appreciate that health care spending accounts for 40 per cent of Ontario's budget but much more is required to strengthen our health-care system to ensure a strong economy."

SOURCE: Ontario Medical Association