Yurek questions Minister Again on Doctor Shortage in Rural Ontario

QUEEN’S PARK –This morning MPP Jeff Yurek rose in the legislature to question the Minister of Health & Long Term, Dr. Eric Hoskins, about the state of Ontario’s health care system and the availability of doctors in rural communities throughout Ontario.

“Under the imposed contract with Doctors in Ontario there is a lack of clarity of where in rural Ontario doctors will be allowed to practice in particular your use of the term high needs area. In fact, your ministry has provided little detail of the definition of a high need area.  Minister, throughout rural Ontario many communities have a shortage of doctors which you have ignored for years.  Can you please provide me with your definition of a “high need area” and what communities will fall under this definition? “

The Minister was unable to answer the question. “This contract will not alleviate the shortage of doctors throughout rural Ontario.  In fact, it might worsen the situation.” Stated MPP Yurek.

Groups like the Ontario Medical Association have been trying to work with the government to develop a health care plan that makes sense yet the Liberal government has ignored their suggestions.  Under the leadership of this government Ontarian’s have seen the provincial debt double since 2003 and is currently facing a $12.5billion deficit.

“It has been reported to me that current doctors and new graduates will leave this province to practice medicine elsewhere and medical students will move to other specializations as opposed to family practice.  Minister, with an aging population that is increasing each year and the retirement of many family doctors the need for family physicians is only going to grow.  Can you please provide the legislature with your estimate as to how many fewer family physicians will be practicing in this province as a result of your governments imposed contract?” Yurek asked.

In the next 5 years there are 7 family physicians set to retire in the County of Elgin which equates to about 10,000 patients that could be left without a family physician if this issue is not addressed.  “It is clear that this government does not care about rural Ontario nor does it understand the urgency of this issue” stated Yurek.

Through the waste and mismanagement of the provinces finances, the Liberal Government is scrambling to balance the budget, which affects services throughout the province.

Video Attached: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyhatRp_qxA&list=UUKEzcZoc3agLJo5_EmAF1JA

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Media Contact: Whitney McWilliam | P: 226-448-6741 | E: whitney.mcwilliam@pc.ola.org