Ontario docs are leaving – patients have trouble finding good doctors

{May 30, 2012}   Deb and Doug ……. together again …….

Ontario health ministry and OMA discuss return to negotiations

Written by Scaachi Koul on May 30, 2012

TORONTO | After an icy negotiations impasse, the Ontario Medical Association and Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews met today to discuss their stalled talks.

Discussions between the two sides broke down this spring after the government imposed more than $300 million in fee cuts.

Matthews wrote a letter to OMA president Dr. Doug Weir on May 18, inviting the OMA back to the bargaining table. After today’s meeting, Matthews said she and Dr. Weir met and agreed to have their officials meet to discuss what they want to talk about at the bargaining table before the OMA will agree to negotiate again with the Liberal government. Both said today’s meeting was a positive step, and Dr. Weir said there was enough progress to justify another meeting.

“We talked about some system transformation issues; we really think we’ve got lots of opportunity to do better when it comes to primary care and they (the OMA) share our goal to do better for patients,” Matthews told reporters.

Matthews also stated that while Dr. Weir and the OMA didn’t change her mind about fee cuts, she did ask for the association’s assistance in making the changes effective.

“Help us implement these fee changes in a way that protects and even enhances patient care,” she said she told Dr. Weir. “We’ll work with (the OMA) on implementation but they know that any changes they are going to recommend have to be offset by other reductions.”

“The next step is that we’re going to have another meeting—a small group of people not involving me or Dr. Weir,” Matthews said. “(That group) will begin to lay the groundwork to get back to the table.”

She said the government isn’t planning any unilateral moves to cut fees further at the moment.

In her May 18 letter, Matthews recommended they establish an expert advisory committee on strengthening primary care in Ontario. It would examine and offer recommendations aimed at reducing ER visits, reducing wait times to see specialists, and supporting the quality of primary care.

Matthews also said the government does not intend to reduce its commitment to primary care. “To ensure clarity as to the government’s position and sincerity in this effort, I will give you my commitment that overall funding for these family practice models will be maintained at current 2011/12 levels,” she wrote.






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