Statement From Ontario's Health Minister In Response to the Ontario Medical Association
Today, Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, released the following statement in response to the Ontario Medical Association:
"We value Ontario doctors. After years of neglect by the NDP and PC governments, Ontario's public health care system is finally back on its feet. Working together with health care partners like our nurses and doctors, we have made great strides to improve patient care and patient access. We've gone from worst to first in key surgical wait times. We've found family doctors for 2.1 million more Ontarians. And we've reversed the brain drain, hiring 3,400 more doctors and paying them a good living.
Our doctors are now the best paid in the country. On average, doctors in Ontario earn $362,000 a year, and some specialists make twice that amount. And it's for good reason, because we know that when someone we love is sick, nothing matters more than getting them the care they need.
I am proud to support the work our doctors do.
And now our government's contract with doctors is up for renewal and negotiations are underway. In keeping with our fiscal plan, I've asked doctors to accept a real wage freeze. A freeze is absolutely necessary to protect the very results we've achieved together over the last eight years.
The Ontario Medical Association is arguing that a real wage freeze while maintaining services will be very challenging if not impossible.
We could not disagree more.
A real freeze for doctors will allow us to provide the health care services that we all care about - home care and community care for our seniors, more access to our doctors after hours and faster referrals to specialists.
We've added 3,400 doctors and we will add more to position the province to meet the needs of our aging population, which has greater medical needs. We have increased the number of spaces in our medical schools. And we have taken steps to ensure more Ontarians have a family doctor. In fact, the number of doctors for every member of the population is now higher than it was in 1995.
Over the last eight years we have provided the Ontario Medical Association with annual increases and now we're asking them to do their fair share to help address Ontario's number one challenge, which is to eliminate the deficit.
Ontario families expect us to make the right choices to balance the budget while protecting their health care services. Doctors make a good living and we encourage them to do their part to protect the gains we've made in our health care system."