Friday, March 25, 2011

Ontario Doctors say that Health Care Must be a Priority in Ontario

Photo Credit: University of Ottawa Heart Institute

TORONTO, March 25, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - With the provincial budget set to be delivered on March 29, 2011, Ontario's doctors are reminding the government that strategic investments must continue to be made in health care.

Specifically, Ontario's doctors pointed to recent polling conducted on behalf of the Ontario Medical Association, which reveals that: 72 per cent of Ontarians agree that the government should invest additional money to expand Electronic Medical Records; 84 per cent agree that the government should invest in children's mental health programs; and 71 per cent agree that investments should be made to fight childhood obesity.

"It is clear that the future and sustainability of health care is top of mind for voters in Ontario. Ontario's doctors will continue to be leading advocates when it comes to helping shape the future of our health-care system."

"It is difficult to have a discussion about health care without acknowledging that if we want a system that is responsive and meets the needs of patients - it is going to cost more. But if we continue to make strategic investments we know that physicians can provide not just more care, but better care." - Mark MacLeod, MD, President, Ontario Medical Association

Earlier this year, Ontario's doctors released, "Better care. Healthier patients. A stronger Ontario.", which contains 41 recommendations designed to improve patient care and strengthen Ontario's health-care system. Some specific policy recommendations include:

...Fighting childhood obesity by requiring fast food chains to list calorie contents on menu boards, and by mandating physical activity in our high schools.

...Stop kids from getting easy access to cheap, illegal cigarettes, by implementing a comprehensive contraband control strategy.

...Putting a plan in place to ensure that every person in Ontario has an electronic medical record;

...Expanding the number of Family Health Teams;

...Implementing a mental health strategy with a focus on our young people whose parents continue to find significant gaps in resources and care options; and

...Reducing the number of Alternate Level of Care patients by increasing long-term care capacity and home support services.

At times, Ontario's economic recovery, provincial debt and personal finances have been a focal point for all three parties, but recent polling reveals that patients want health care to be a priority. Specifically, 9 in 10 Ontarians feel that health care is the most important issue and health care is more important by a 2-1 margin over fiscal issues such as jobs, taxes, debt and deficit.

Quick Facts:

...In just six short years over 1.3 million people now have access to family doctor.

...Over 5,900 doctors are now managing over 6 million patients with an electronic medical record.

...More medical school students are choosing family medicine than ever before.

...Wait times for some key surgeries and procedures are down.

...And just last year, Ontario's doctors helped identify some $100 million in savings without impacting patient care.

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