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Ontario’s doctors want solutions for the health-care system in the next provincial budget

CHATHAM, Ont., Jan. 16, 2024–Ontario’s doctors, represented by the Ontario Medical
Association (OMA), have submitted a comprehensive set of recommendations to the provincial
government ahead of the upcoming budget that address critical health-care priorities.
“While these solutions will not solve every issue, taking Ontario doctors’ advice today will get
the system out of crisis mode,” said OMA President Dr. Andrew Park. “The strains on the
health-care system have ballooned over the decades. It will take decades to fix these issues, but
we must start somewhere. And we must start now.”
The OMA’s Prescription for Ontario: Doctors’ Solutions for Immediate Action outlines 11
strategic initiatives that should be included in the 2024-25 provincial budget to ensure we have
a sustainable and efficient health-care system.
The three key priorities include:

  1. Fixing the Crisis in Primary Care
    This initiative is a legacy-defining opportunity for this government. Currently, 2.3 million
    Ontarians do not have a family physician, and this will balloon to 4.4 million by 2026 unless
    something is done. The association calls for a rapid expansion of team-based care, a sustainable
    strategy for northern and rural physician workforce, and increased investments in practice
    ready assessments. The goal is to ensure at least 50 per cent of Ontarians have access to team-
    based care by March 31, 2026.
  2. Reducing the Burden of Unnecessary Administration
    The average family physician spends almost 40 per cent of their work week on administrative
    tasks that take them away from patients. To enable doctors to focus on patient care, the OMA
    proposes creating a centralized intake and referral system, streamlining forms, reducing sick
    notes and referral letters, and funding the use of artificial intelligence scribes.
  3. Increasing Community Capacity and Tackling Hospital Overcrowding
    Far too many Ontarians are languishing in hospital beds when they could be discharged and
    better cared for elsewhere. The OMA is urging the government to address hospital
    overcrowding by appropriately funding home care and home-care providers, exploring
    programs for hospital-level care at home, embedding care coordinators within primary care and
    Ontario Health Teams, providing long-term care homes with necessary equipment, and
    ensuring universal access to palliative care.

“We believe that tangible action on these solutions will send a strong and confident message to
the people Ontario, its doctors and others in the health-care workforce that this government is
committed to building a better system,” said OMA CEO Kimberly Moran. “We would like to
work with the government to make these solutions a reality and improve access to care for all
Ontarians.”

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