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Doctors frustrated by lack of government consultation

Published on

Cathy Dobson

Ontario doctors are losing their battle with the Ontario government while budget cuts impact patient care, says the vice president of the Lambton Medical Society.

Dr. Rajni Saraf
Dr. Rajni Saraf

“Doctors have had reductions (in their compensation) of nearly 7% since February 2015,” said Dr. Rajni Saraf, a local obstetrician and gynecologist.

“It’s seriously having an impact on doctors’ abilities to provide care,” she said. “We’re afraid it will increase to 10% this year.”

Payment for many procedures and services has decreased under the Liberal regime, causing doctors to retire early or leave Ontario, Saraf recently told members of Sarnia’s Rotary Club.

“We understand there is only so much money to spend on health care, but they are making (poor) decisions about where to make the cuts,” she said.

Saraf is the regional delegate to Ontario Medical Association, which has been unsuccessful in negotiating with the government about where health budget cuts are made.

The OMA has been unable to provide input since January of 2015, Saraf said.

“The government is making unilateral decisions when it is the physicians who know what works and what doesn’t work,” she said.

“We are not saying, pay us more. We are saying, just listen to us or things are going to get worse. But we are at an impasse.  They don’t want our opinion.”

While government investment in Ontario’s health care system has increased less than 2% the expense of running a practice is expected to increase 3.6% in 2016, according to Saraf.

“Meantime, we see the Liberals waste millions of dollars on things like eHealth and the bureaucracy of the LHIN (Local Health Integration Network).”

Sarnia-Lambton continues to have difficulty attracting doctors for numerous reasons, said Saraf.  Specialist are retiring or leaving the province.

“As for GPs, the government controls how many join the Family Practice Teams, so the schools are producing new grads but they can’t get jobs here.

“We need a dermatologist, a cardiologist and more pediatricians but we can’t recruit them because of all of this.”

The OMA is urging the public to contact their MPP with their concerns or sign a petition online at www.oma.org.

 

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