Why Ontario is losing out on potential new family docs?

Meet Adrian. Adrian is a second year family practice resident at McMaster University in Hamilton. He wants to practice in Ontario but given the current situation, but he’s not sure he’ll be able to.

Meet Venus. The second-year University of Toronto medical student was considering specializing in family practice, but now she’s not so sure.

Meet Sam. The University of Ottawa family practice resident has planted roots in Ottawa with his family, but with a large student debt, government changes to primary care in Ontario will be putting an increased financial strain on him.

Ontario is at risk of losing Adrian, Venus and Sam. They represent hundreds of new (and future) family doctors who graduate from medical school in Ontario every year. They are being trained to practice in a team-based model, but because of government cuts may either be forced to practice in a model foreign to them or, worse, take their medical education and head to another province or another country.

The changes imposed by the government on doctors include limiting the number of doctors who can join team-based family practice to 20 per month and they can only join teams in those areas deemed “high need.” Problem is with graduation just months away, the government has yet to say where these high needs area are putting hundreds of family practice residents into limbo.

Adrian wants to stay in Ontario to practice both family medicine and anesthesia, but with the new government restrictions to team based family medicine models he believes he will need to make alternate plans.

For many residents that plan won’t involve working in a solo fee-for-service model as it’s one they’re unfamiliar with having trained for the past number of years in team-based models. This is the kind of model used in family health teams across the province where an interdisciplinary group of health professionals – nurses, dieticians, doctors – work together to offer comprehensive care to patients.

The plan will likely involve leaving Ontario. And once they leave, they will probably never return.

These are doctors the people of Ontario have invested in through their undergraduate degree, medical school and finally their residency.

These are doctors the people of Ontario need. There are currently more than 800,000 people in the province without a family doctor. They need Adrian, Venus and Sam – as do the 140,000 new people who are added to the health care system in the province every year.

We all need Adrian, Venus and Sam.

Tell the government to put your health care, before its budget.

Posted on April 16, 2015 in blog

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