Despite being a long-time fan of Deb Matthews, Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long Term Care, we have to admit that she has failed to solve the key problem in Ontario’s health care system. The problem is the doctors. They discriminate and there are people who cannot get a family doctor.
The people who cannot get a family doctor are elderly. They want too much of a doctor’s time. The poorest served of these elderly people are the chronically ill. The doctor cannot cure them. These people tend to have multiple problems that are difficult to treat. That can frustrate the doctor. And that is why doctors do not want these elderly patients in their practice. Doctors want young, healthy families as patients who can be treated quickly and easily.
Sure, the Ontario Medical Association tells doctors not to discriminate because of age or health of prospective patients. The Health Ministry tells the doctors not to discriminate. Despite this, Ontario Human Rights has let them discriminate. Hospitals still let them practice in their facilities, even though they know they discriminate.
That leaves the ball entirely in your court Deb. You are the one who pays these doctors. Your Ministry condones this discrimination. Take a look at the offer on your Ministry’s web site to find a family doctor for Ontario residents. Get your Ministry to issue you a health card with a false name and then fill in an honest application for yourself. You are a grandmother, see how many doctors want to have you as a patient?
When you spoke to the Toronto Board of Trade yesterday (Jan. 30) Deb, you said that the Local Health Integration Network would take more responsibility for local doctors. That was not necessarily good news. From where we sit, in a town that accounts for about a third of the full-time population of the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN, it is ill-equipped to do anything about the discrimination problem.
While some people hate the LHIN concept in general, we felt that it might work if the centralized bureaucracy at Queen’s Park was proportionally decreased as the health care management was spread across the province. Okay, maybe that was wishful thinking.
But it is still the centralized staff at Queen’s Park that negotiates with the doctors. Do something about the discrimination. Please.
Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry
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