I’d like to start my statement today with a quote from Dr. Ved Tandan of the Ontario Medical Association: “The provincial government’s new cuts will drive new physicians out of Ontario and hurt patient care…. family physicians are being barred from joining team-based models of care like family health teams in the community of their choice. Such team-based practices are the model students and residents … are being trained in and the model that will allow them to provide best quality of care. More than 500 family medicine residents are set to graduate in Ontario this June and their plans to join a family health team or network are now ‘in limbo’,” he says.
The fact is, Ontario is failing doctors and, especially, failing patients in new and alarming ways in rural Ontario. This government has placed new restrictions on doctors who are recent graduates from joining family health teams. Family health teams have been a key tool in improving health care delivery in the province. Last week, Hastings county council supported a resolution by the OMA to oppose this change and allow new doctors to join family team teams. As Hastings county warden, Rick Phillips, stated, “You should be encouraging stuff. You shouldn’t be eliminating things,” when it comes to health care delivery in Ontario.
The problem this government has right now is that it’s seeing debt start to grow at such a rate that it can’t afford to provide the services that Ontarians need. It’s now cutting corners and hurting those services. We need to support our family health teams. We need to provide those opportunities for new doctors, and we need to make decisions to protect health care in this province.