OMA president supports Ford’s clinic plan, but must keep single-payer

By CityNews Ottawa

The president of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) said the organization has long asked for private surgical centres to be integrated with hospitals to reduce wait-times, but keeping the services publicly funded is a must.

“We have been recommending for some time for a series of surgical centres in the community to be integrated with the hospital to catch up on the serious surgical backlogs,” said Dr. Rose Zacharias, OMA president, on The Sam Laprade Show.

Dr. Zacharias said the surgical centres need to follow the single-payer model, ensuring normally carried out in hospital are covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).

She adds that the centres need to be integrated with hospitals to not further entrench the health human resources shortage.

“We are dealing with a severe doctor and nursing shortage,” said Dr. Zacharias. “That integration with hospitals is extremely important to ensure our hospitals can continue to deliver the higher acuity, more emergent care that is required of them.”

Integrating the centres also gives hospitals oversight of patient care and safety, and gives patients a continuity of care from diagnosis, to surgery and follow-ups.

Dr. Zacharias said Ford's plan checks some of the key boxes for the OMA, but would now like to see the creation of a committee compromised of government and external stakeholders to see the plan implemented.

Though not willing to address some of the grievances of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO), which called the plan a disaster, Dr. Zacharias said something needed to be done “inside of a system that's broken.”

It used to take just a few months for patients to be recommended for hip replacement, have their surgery and continue on with an improved quality of life, said Dr. Zacharias.

“That's not happening now. They are languishing at home or coming to the emergency department multiple times with pain issues and continued deterioration of their physical health,” said Dr. Zacharias. “And so a solution that is designed to deliver the care these patients have been waiting for is what we are encouraged by.”

Listen to the full interview with Dr. Zacharias on The Sam Laprade Show below.

And the full interview with Dr. Doris Grinspun from the RNAO below.

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