Ontario docs are leaving – patients have trouble finding good doctors




The buzz is growing everywhere:  Despite earlier assurances by their representatives to the contrary, Ontario docs are planning a strike!  In addition, there is talk of holding back CPSO payments. Personally and selfishly I hope they don’t strike. On the other hand, who could blame them!  The Public would do well to support them if they don’t want to be without doctors soon because ever larger numbers will be leaving the Province. The Government has once again pulled out the rug from under the docs, easy targets and scapegoats for many years. Just as docs thought they would get a little closer to a reasonably comfy retirement, they’ve been informed that because of the latest pay freeze and paycuts, this will remain an unattainable goal for many. Health Minister Deb Matthews quoted six figure incomes for docs. It was no error she omitted to mention that overhead and staff salaries take a very large chunk out of that.
Teachers go on strike like clockwork, so do TTC workers and many other professions. They fight for a bigger piece of the pie, a comfortable existence, additional benefits and a larger pension. Docs don’t receive benefits or pensions. Docs will get a payfreeze and many, a reducton in fees. Overheads remain the same, rents may increase and staff won’t accept a paycut. It was a dishonest, calculated move which prompted Deb   –  of Ornge infamy  –   to make docs look selfish and greedy with no thought for the health and welfare of patients. Pitting the Public against docs is perhaps politically a smart move, it is also thoroughly dishonest, benefiting no one in the end!  Too bad for Deb she’s not that smart and can’t brainwash us all into believing this would be a good decision either long-term or short-term. Personally, I can’t blame docs when they strike. Even if it is slightly frightening, it will be short-lived. How can a healthy doc-patient relationship exist when the Minister of Health implies docs are greedy and less interested in the patient than in the money they can make?  The doc can’t help but feel resentful which hardly benefits the patient. I am one of many patients who will support my doctor in a strike.
Docs aren’t allowed to go on strike. Until now, they’ve accepted, that  – unlike other professions – they must not put their own and their families’ interests first or face the consequences  –  licence revoked or suspended.  Docs must accept that even in cases of national disaster, they are to put patients ahead of their families and can expect no compensation should they become victims themselves. Older docs plod on, grumbling without improving their situation. A “new” generation is planning to go on active strike. Teachers have it down to a fine art, so do others. They stick together and have each others’ back!  Docs, for some reason, have in the past been unable to unite. The threat of having a licence suspended was a bit of a dis-incentive. Without effective counteraction docs will continue to be pushed down. Ontario docs are not the naive idealists the Government expects them to be. Docs don’t think “money” is a dirty word. They recognize the power of “strength in numbers” and cannot help but win hands down!  Isn’t the Ministry of Health constantly reassuring the Public that they want to give them more and better access to healthcare instead of less? By taking more from docs they may well achieve the opposite. Docs are very much aware of market demands. People want more and faster access to healthcare. Why should docs not show business sense and not allow themselves to be pushed down financially yet again?!  Docs will “care” for their patients better if they don’t worry about the future.
Discontent is great. Not a good thing when your doc is preoccupied and aware that you resent him for wanting to make decent living. The Ontario Medical Association is unhappy and stunned at being treated like  naughty kiddies, asking for too many candies and Mommy Deb said “No”!  What’s more, Mommy Deb is taking some of their pocket money away!  
Docs realize they’re on their own. They have a legitimate cause. They have the numbers to pull it off and know that they have every chance of succeeding. It’s easy to see how a strike would benefit both doc and patient in the end. Let’s hope the Government can look a bit further than their next pay increase and sacrifice themselves for the greater good, just as they repeatedly expect docs to do. If docs had wanted to be Saints, they would have chosen to join the Church……   but even the Church  – especially the Church  –  always had an excellent grasp of the concept of business and money.
CPSO’s Registrar Rocco Gerace is in a quandary. They’ll have to suspend or take away the licences of all docs who take a stand and show the Government once and for all that their contribution to society is valuable and worth fighting for. That’s a very large number of docs!  No doubt threats will be issued by the CPSO over the next few days, forcefully aimed at dissuading docs even to think about striking.  Not able to keep up with current cases, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario is certainly not equipped to deal with a strike. The College has always been able to count on docs to roll over and play dead. Docs have always obediently obliged them. College Registrar Rocco Gerace expects nothing less this time.
Only “guts” are standing between docs and paycuts now. If they strike, it will be short-lived as the Government and the Public simply can’t afford to have so many docs lose their licence. Docs are in the driver’s seat. All they need to do is rev up the engine……. !
Good luck docs  –  You have the blessing and support of many patients!  If we get a cold we promise to take two Aspirin. With luck it’ll be resolved in a few days and docs will once more be able to concentrate fully on their patients. “Bout time we all had an “antibiotics” break anyway.   

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