Ontario’s doctors say health-care measures need more work

Senior man having medical examination by cardiologist at doctor's office.

TORONTO, March 26, 2024 — Ontario’s doctors, represented by the Ontario Medical Association, say significant investments in team-based primary care and home care in the provincial budget are positive steps, but more work is needed to build the health-care system that Ontario deserves.  

The OMA identified urgent priorities in our Prescription for Ontario: Doctors’ Solutions for Immediate Action and asked the government for action in those areas. This budget makes progress on our recommendations, including fixing the crisis in primary care. With the announced investment of $546 million for team-based primary care, an estimated 600,000 more patients will gain access.

“We know that 2.3 million Ontarians currently do not have a family physician. That’s a health issue,” said OMA President Dr. Andrew Park. “There are benefits to physician-led team-based care for both patients and providers and this investment is a step towards the OMA’s goal to ensure everyone has access. The OMA will continue advocating for system solutions that ensure family medicine is a desirable and sustainable career, including ensuring compensation keeps pace with inflation.”

The OMA has warned other system level solutions are also needed including reducing the burden of unnecessary administration to enable doctors to spend time caring for patients. The OMA is committed to ongoing work with the government to tackle this issue.

Ontario’s doctors also called to increase community capacity and tackle hospital overcrowding. Far too many Ontarians are languishing in hospital beds when they could be discharged and better cared for elsewhere. The OMA is pleased to see a significant investment in home care in today’s budget.  

“An aging population will increase pressure on the health-care system. We need to prepare now to be able to serve people at home and in their communities,” said Dr. Park. “Investments in home care will help preserve quality of patients’ day-to-day lives and will help reduce the strain on hospitals.”  

Up to 20 per cent of acute care beds are occupied by patients who should be in another level of care or at home with support. This bottleneck of patients, referred to as alternate-level-of-care, has existed in Ontario for many years, with its root causes remaining unresolved.

“Fixing Ontario’s health-care system will not be quick, easy or cheap, but this budget is a step in the right direction,” said OMA CEO Kimberly Moran. “We need to work together — doctors, health-care workers, stakeholders and government — to build the system Ontario deserves.”  


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