Doctors first: House calls second.

And here we thought Deb Mathews was one of the brighter lights in the McGuinty cabinet.  We all make mistakes but Mathews offer of doctors providing house calls for seniors could be a serious stretch.  While we all understand the logic and economic sense she is making, there is no question that she has things backwards.

First you have to have doctors who will accept seniors as patients.

This is not just a problem in Ontario, it is a disgrace that is impacting millions of families.  While the Ontario Medical Association has said that doctors are not to discriminate against seniors, nobody enforces it.  The Ontario Human Rights Commission ignores it.  Hospitals not only allow doctors to discriminate but they actively support them in it.

While tens of thousands of seniors, the people in greatest need for properly controlled health care, lack a family doctor, McGuinty runs around the province touting his government’s accomplishments in more families getting doctors.  Why he wants to take the credit for the new doctors who made the decision to go into medicine during the Harris Conservative government years, is not clear.

What is clear is that these new doctors only want to serve young, healthy families.  Why?  Because that is how they will be paid the most by the government.  There is no percentage for a new general practitioner to take on seniors.  The old people have complex problems, take up far too much time and are a strain on a new practice.

The McGuinty government deserves the credit for coming up with the sensible arguments for an ‘Aging at Home’ policy.  It seems to be the steps needed to make it happen that are tripping up the government.  In the meantime, there are probably more than 10,000 seniors in Ontario on the waiting lists for nursing home beds.  The Harris government might be blamed for the problems in the system but the waiting list has become almost three times as long since McGuinty took over.

The person who wrote the dialogue for the 1949 Humphrey Bogart-John Derek movie Knock on any door certainly spoke for Ontario seniors when he advised people to live fast, die young and leave a beautiful corpse.

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Copyright 2011 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

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