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After spending most of my adult life in the United States, the country's travel ban has me asking: "Do we belong here?"
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Hyperbole in negotiations and politics is nothing new, but what is it that these doctors are hoping to achieve through these tactics?
It's naïve for Canadians to believe these proposed tax changes are going to have no effect on them.
Politicians simply assume that doctors will always be there to do the work, no matter the working conditions
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We undervalue the systemic factors that influence how many patients receive an opioid prescription, and without an appreciation of those factors this crisis cannot be solved.
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Currently, the Hoskins/Bell legacy is not a pretty one. It's one of internecine disputes with doctors, laid-off nurses, hospital deficits, patients in stretchers for days and egregious wait times. At least with family medicine, they have an opportunity to begin to correct this mess.
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I can see that we are once again heading for the same situation as the late 1990s/early 2000s, when many medical trainees stopped going into comprehensive family medicine. The reasons then were due to increased workload, better opportunities in other specialties and an extremely poor relationship with the government of the day. To suggest that there was a crisis in family medicine would be dramatically understating the issue.
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Services like surgery and obstetrics are being packed up and moved wholesale to urban centres, forcing rural patients to travel long distances to access care. You might think that urban hospitals are the winners in this equation. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
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Last week, the Ontario Liberal Government released the specifics of the 2017-2018 Budget. From a health care perspective, what became startlingly evident, was that the Liberals seem to be unable to comprehend exactly how the health care system functions. They are seemingly unable or unwilling to look at the big picture when trying to solve problems.
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Kathleen Wynne may very well owe Unilateral Eric big for making her premier. But if Wynne is serious about governing the province properly, her next step must be to shuffle the most disastrous health minister Ontario has had in recent memory out of his portfolio.
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This job doesn't make you a bad person. You don't lose your empathy or your goodness. It's just hard to care about other people when you don't feel cared for, or are not caring for yourself. Knowing what refuels you back to your normal, good self is as important as knowing how to resuscitate someone who is sick. What makes you feel better, like the real you?
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When health care is positioned as a key way of managing social problems, we put enormous strain on the system. This forces us to be duct-tape doctors, trying our best to seal up the gaps in a patchwork system of inadequacies and shortfalls. Primary care in particular is perfectly situated to absorb the costs of poor social supports.
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The government can no longer cling to the falsehood that loud, angry doctors are just tiny splinter group, trying to whip up trouble in name of a bigger pay cheque. The majority of doctors are unhappy with this government and unhappy with the direction of health care. If two critical votes with large voter turnout can't convince you that doctors are pushing for health care reform, then you are relying on alternative facts to bolster your misconception.
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There are repeated references in the media to this being a coup or a hostile takeover of some sort. Even the word "insurgency" has been used. This was not due to a small radical group of the dissidents. More than likely, your own doctor supported this change.
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If you're not arrogant enough to believe that you know or recall everything that might be important, and you're willing to consult other authoritative sources, you may actually be more accurate and effective as a result.
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Last week, physicians in Ontario were stunned to hear that one of their colleagues, who by all accounts was a bright vivacious woman, had died, allegedly due to domestic abuse, or Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) as it's now called. She leaves behind young children, and a legacy of kindness, health care advocacy and caring.
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The past two years have seen a significant deterioration in the relationship between Ontario's physicians, and the Liberal government of Premier Kathleen Wynne and her health minister, Eric Hoskins. Rather than just protest, Health City's plan is to bring awareness of the health care crisis to the general public, and also educate them as to what they can do to fight for proper health care services in Ontario.
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Online health information is valuable, but as one aspect of our decision making process, not as the sole source of information. Today's physician is an incredible resource -- a resource that understands the research we view online, remains current on the latest evidence, reads peer review journals and attends health conferences.
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For six years the Ministry of Health has known that ePrescribe has, at little cost, saved lives and improved patient care. Sadly, it is but one of the many examples of the incredible waste and mismanagement of the health care system. Small dedicated investments are avoided, in order to create bigger projects such as the current medication management system, that cost exponentially more, but more importantly, provide jobs for bureaucrats. The fact that patients won't be helped is not relevant.
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While governments such as Ontario have been focusing on reducing or holding physician fees steady as a cost control measure, health-care spending is also affected by the overall number of physicians we have and the number of services each provides to their patients.
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It was another tumultuous week in Ontario, as the province's seemingly never-ending battle with its physicians continued. The grand Hoskins scheme now seems to be to sow discord amongst physicians so they fight amongst themselves. He knows that if physicians unite against Bill 210, as they did against the tPSA, he will never be able to succeed in implementing his plans.
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These are challenging times for physicians, governments and patients. We need to have peace and we need to rebuild trust in order to improve the health system in Ontario and the health of our patients. After 18 months of scorched earth tactics we are open to trying something different.
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I believe the public should know how taxes are spent. More importantly, the public should know their money is wisely spent. With physician billings, though, I think we're chasing the wrong number. Billings are a crude, misleading measure of value for money. In isolation, they cannot and do not tell the story we need to hear.
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In case you think I'm asking you for more money for health care, I'm not. The $51 billion currently budgeted is enough, it just needs to be spent more efficiently. There will be significant immediate cost savings from cutting the bureaucratic bloats. But will this be enough to get you the election win you so badly desire in 2018?
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While I agree the situation is complex, the main reason that younger family physicians are taking fewer patients has nothing to do with either a lack of dedication or desire to help their patients, but rather that medicine has become far more complex in the past 30 years.
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Eric Hoskins has taken the position that the health care needs a "system transformation." I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. However, rather than get to work on meaningful transformation, he has elected to play politics instead. The result will be a continuance of uncertainty and compromised health care for all Ontarians.
It is not surprising that many Canadians are concerned about the dangers of the new assisted suicide and euthanasia bill, C-14. What is really not credible is how the word-benders who used the Charter "right to life" to legalize the intentional suicide or killing of some patients are now protesting that they have been cheated of total victory.
Back in the mid-1990s, the Ontario Provincial Government found itself in a bitter dispute with Ontario physicians. Back then, the government tried to frame the dispute as one that was solely based on physician compensation. Fast forward to 2016.
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Rather than show real leadership and work with physicians, the Liberals, desperate to increase their popularity and to cover up their mismanagement of the health-care system, have chosen to vilify the one group of people that could reasonably have helped not only them, but the people of Ontario, in improving the health-care system.
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Researchers estimate we lose more than 400 doctors per year in the U.S. to suicide (an entire med school) and 150 med students yearly. We're a highly regulated profession. Doctors are tracked endlessly and publicly shamed if we veer off course in any way, and if we die by suicide, suddenly it's like we never existed.
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Allowing people to opt out of obeying the law on religious grounds can be a slippery slope. You can't oppose anti-discrimination laws because your religion tells you, or you think your religion tells you, that women are inferior, or that LGBTIQ people are sinners. You can't commit violent acts because your religion tells you, or you think your religion tells you, that infidels should be punished.
Chances are that if you have been a patient in a large metropolitan hospital or are regularly treated in a teaching clinic, you have interacted with a resident doctor. Medical residency is that crucial period between our first days as newly-certified doctors and emerging as full-fledged, licensed physicians.