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Doctors offer suggestions to the doctor shortage

By Randy Thoms Jan 27, 2024 | 4:56 AM

Dr. Andrew Park, president of the Ontario Medical Association, January 16, 2024

The Ontario Medical Association wants to see every Ontarian has their own family doctor.

The OMA is offering up some suggestions on how to make that happen.

Chief Executive Officer Kimberly Moran says an expansion of team-based care would allow the province to achieve that goal.

“Team-based care allows patients to be connected with the most appropriate provider for the care they need, all while allowing physicians to focus on patients with the most complex issues,” says Moran.

“What we’re proposing is that this isn’t a one-size-fits-all,” says Moran. There’s some flexibility to it because the physicians and their communities know what their community needs are, and so it allows them to build out their teams with their fellow healthcare members of a team such as social work, pharmacy, nursing, nurse practitioners, dietitians, physiotherapists, et cetera, that they know that their community needs.”

The OMA says there are more than 2.3 million Ontario residents without a family physician.

Moran says without action, that number could balloon to 4 million by 2026

Another recommendation seeks to reduce the amount of paperwork that doctors must complete.

OMA president Dr. Andrew Park says doctors are spending as much as 19 hours each week on administrative duties.

“I don’t know anybody who went to medical school to fill out forms. And I think that that is highlighting that we need doctors being doctors. And what we do is we want to be in front of our patients, not in front of screens or with a pen and paper writing out forms,” says Park.

Another ask to government is to increase access to home and palliative care.

Park says this would ease the overcrowding of hospitals.