Sunday, November 11, 2007

Inconvenient statistics for George Smitherman - With update

Sun columnist James Wallace warns us of more doctor shortages ahead for Ontario.

Here are the grim numbers:

The Ontario government over the past five years has increased health care spending by a staggering $10 billion.

Doctors got a $1-billion pay hike during their last round of negotiations with the province in part to make physician compensation competitive with other jurisdictions, help attract new doctors and retain existing ones.

Hospitals have been offered barrels of cash to reduce waits by pushing more patients through surgeries and procedures.

The government has hired thousands of new nurses, increased medical school spaces, doubled training to allow more foreign doctors to practice here and created new family health teams in an attempt to expand patient access to doctors.

But five years of spending has removed just 200,000 "orphan" patients from the list of Ontarians without a doctor.

More than a million Ontarians, including 130,000 children, still can't find a family doctor.

On top of that, as Wallace points out, many doctors will be retiring soon:

...doctors are getting older and some 2,500 family practitioners and specialists -- about 10% of the total -- are 55 or older...

Things are clearly going to get worse before they get better.

* * * *

: This one's for Sheena (see comments) - Do something about shortage of family MDs, Liberals urged - Record:

Critics are accusing the governing Liberals of complacency in light of figures which show Ontario is continuing to lose precious family doctors to other provinces.

While Premier Dalton McGuinty says the government has made a lot of progress in recruiting and retaining Ontario doctors, the Ontario Medical Association and opposition parties say the situation is dire.

Sheena is a real person, not a mere statistic. She needs a doctor, as do many other people living in Waterloo Region.

As John Tory notes in the article, "They should get a sense of urgency about this,'' Tory said. "The very fact that they have the audacity to say that they're making progress and it's just a matter of waiting like it's something cooking on the stove, is absolutely an abdication of responsibility.''

See, Ontario? That's what you get for letting McGuinty and company have a second majority - complacency.

Four more years of it.

* * * *
Monday Update: Lorrie Goldstein - Government malpractice to blame.

I had forgotten this:
In one example of central planning run amok, the then NDP government in Ontario announced it would pay the University of Toronto up to $10 million annually not to produce as many doctors.
Thanks, Bob.

Star - Diabetes treatment occupies province.


Anonymous said...

So what exactly DID Ontarians get for their health tax?


Joanne (True Blue) said...

Anon, most of the health tax went into 'general revenues'.

We need a thorough accounting of exactly what it was used for. Both opposition leaders have been calling for that.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Here's one reference regarding the so-called 'health tax':

...The Conservative Leader also needs to remind voters that what the Liberals call "a health premium" is really a surtax that goes into general revenues, with only a notional allocation to health care...

Raphael Alexander said...

Radical health reform is required in order to alleviate the public system.

BBS said...

Explain to me why we created 14 Local Health Integration Networks without a significant reduction in the Ontario Ministry of Health. If these netowrks now control two thirds of the health care budget, we should have seen a shift of approximately two thirds fo the bureaucracy out of Toronto. How much of that $10 billion dollar increase has gone into more studies, consultants, reports, polling and bureaucracy? We can continue to pour more money into health care and the system will continue to soak it up, producing marginal improvements.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Hi Paul! Nice to hear from you.

So that's what LHIN stands for. I heard that acronym being used before and wondered what it meant. Thanks for the info.

Sheena said...

Joanne, had I known how pathetic things were down here in KW I am not sure I would have moved so fast.

Anonymous said...

BBS has hit the nail on the head!!! Again, it looks like Ontarians paid more and got less for their taxdollar. So, what did we lemmings do? We re-elected the same three ring circus.

Look for the same LHINS type move for school boards and education in this province. I wonder if school boards are ready to have their rug slipped out from under their myth of local control???

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Sheena, what do you mean 'pathetic'? Did you find a doctor yet?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Look for the same LHINS type move for school boards and education in this province.

Anon, you've mentioned that before. How would that work regarding school boards? Maybe I've asked you that before, but my head was spinning during the election. Thanks.

Sheena said...

Nope. Word on the street is that the Chamber of Commerce waiting list is 1-2 years. So I am a burden on the emergency ward while I work through day 5 of bronchitis.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

So I am a burden on the emergency ward while I work through day 5 of bronchitis.

Oh, boy. I'm sorry to hear that, Sheena. Our local talkshow host, Jeff Allan has been waiting for well over a year. It could be two years now.

The kicker is that we have apparently been removed from 'underserviced status' or something along that line.

Yeah, you never think about having to find a doctor when you move to another city.

Best not to move if you plan to live in Ontario, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Education type of LHINS would work exactly the same way as the LHINS.

Anonymous said...

It's November 11th. Leave this for another day in honour of those who fought and lost their lives.

You should be ashamed of yourselves. You can't even let it go for one day out of 365 days.

CPC's - consumed with hatred and vile partisanship even on Nov 11th.


Anonymous said...

Haven't people figured it out yet? They want all medical staff imported now so they can further their mulitculturalism of the masses. (real conservative)

Sheena said...

Joanne, a sincere thanks. There are many communities in the same dire predicament. At least I don't have to worry about kids or elderly parents too. I can't imagine how awful that must be for families new to this area.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Sheena, I sure hope you're feeling better now.

To be honest, I didn't know that newcomers to the area were supposed to sign up with the Chamber of Commerce for a doctor! That does seem somewhat bizarre.

Personally, I've had the same doctor for about 20 years or so. He is such a great guy. You couldn't ask for a better doctor. But those are far and few between.