Splinter group of Ontario doctors planning a...
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Jan 22, 2015  |  Vote 0    0

Splinter group of Ontario doctors planning a protest ‘job fair’

DoctorsOntario, a break-away group unhappy with the Ontario Medical Association, says it wants to help MDs find jobs in jurisdictions "friendlier" than Ontario

OurWindsor.Ca

A splinter group of doctors, angry with the outcome of the province’s negotiations with the Ontario Medical Association, is planning a job fair to help physicians find work in “friendlier” jurisdictions.

DoctorsOntario (formerly the Coalition of Family Physicians and Specialists of Ontario) will hold a job fair this spring to help doctors find jobs in “places where doctors are cherished and respected and not made to be scapegoats for the failures of others,” said the organization’s interim president, Dr. Douglas Mark, a Scarborough family physician.

The province last week imposed a new payment scheme on doctors after a year of negotiations with the OMA resulted in an impasse.

It will see a 2.65 per cent cut to all physician payments, including fee-for-service, salaries and alternative payment plans.

The pay cut will grow if doctors don’t stay within their budget of $11.4 billion this year and 1.25 per cent more in each of the next two years.

Health Minister Eric Hoskins has said that physician compensation has jumped by 61 per cent since the Liberals took power in 2003, with doctors now earning an average of $360,000 annually.

From their payments, doctors must pay overhead costs that amount on average to about 30 per cent of their billings.

DoctorsOntario is a small group of physicians unhappy with how the OMA has represented the profession. Mark said it has 1,000 members, up from 500 last year. The OMA, the recognized bargaining agent for doctors, has 28,000 members.

Mark said physicians are paying the price for the government’s inability to balance the budget and charged that it has “blown several billion dollars on various boondoggles,” including eHealth, ORNGE and the gas-fired power plants cancellation.

Former OMA president Dr. Doug Weir said DoctorsOntario “is not taken seriously by the majority of physicians in the province.”

Weir called the group’s approach “destructive” and said it’s important for physicians to try to work with the province.

On that note, he said he hopes the government will come back to the bargaining table, and said doctors are willing to take a pay freeze.

Even with a pay freeze taken into account, overall spending on physicians needs to grow at about 2.7 per cent annually to meet demands from a growing and aging population and to pay 700 new physicians who are graduating from medical school, Weir said.

Given this, it’s inevitable that doctors won’t be able to stay within their budget, he said, warning that patient care will ultimately suffer.

Weir said family physicians are getting the rawest deal because the province is not allowing any more doctors to join family health teams.

That might result in new grads going to other jurisdictions, he warned.

Toronto Star

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