'We need to catch up,' Ontario physicians group seeks change to improve health care
Physicians determined to fix Ontario's health care system are calling on the government for support to address the pandemic backlog of services that the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) estimates could take years in a new report published on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Dr. Rose Zacharias visited Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop's office in Midland to deliver the OMA's report to improve health care.
"We know that 20,000 essential patient encounters were missed during the pandemic," said Zacharias, OMA president-elect. "We need to catch up."
According to the OMA, catching up means tackling a backlog that impacts five of the most common medical procedures, including knee and hip replacements, cataract surgeries, heart bypass surgeries and MRIs.
The association reports nearly 700,000 individuals are waiting for procedures.
Zacharias said the major concern is the most vulnerable population, residents battling mental health and seniors in long-term care who find themselves isolated and unable to access care in the overburdened systems.
She said vulnerable patients aren't getting the care they require because "they're falling through the cracks."
"I'm there at the frontlines working 20 years in the emergency department, and also a Medical Hospitalist here at Waypoint Hospital. We see it," Zacharias added.
In a statement, Dunlop's office responded to receiving the OMA report, saying it was "in the process of reviewing it."
It noted that the government would ensure "no stone is left unturned" so Ontarians could continue receiving quality health care.
"The Ontario government is investing $741 million to help clear the backlog of surgeries and build more capacity in the health care system to effectively manage surges and outbreaks in COVID-19 cases," the statement continued.
The OMA's report states that fixing Ontario's health care system would require a collaborative effort among health providers and the government.
The medical association said political parties should include its recommendations to address the gaps in health care in their platforms in the next provincial election in June.
With files from The Canadian Press