Tag Archives: Dr. John Lavis

Significant risks face Ontario’s plan to shift hospital services to private clinics

Wednesday night's panel on speciality clinics -- Natalie Mehra, Dr. Ahmed Bayoumi, Dr. Danielle Martin and Dr. John Lavis.

Wednesday night’s panel on speciality clinics — Natalie Mehra, Dr. Ahmed Bayoumi, Dr. Danielle Martin and Dr. John Lavis.

Dr. Danielle Martin looks uncomfortable discussing the government’s recent plan to move hospital services into so-called specialty clinics.

On the one hand the VP of Toronto’s Women’s College Hospital sees patients every day who she believes could be better served in a community-based setting. On the other, this transfer of services out of hospitals to local clinics runs many risks, including what Martin acknowledges could be “an erosion of Medicare.”

Speaking Wednesday night at a forum organized by the Medical Reform Group at OPSEU’s Toronto Wellesley Membership Centre, Martin admits that in many ways “the horse is already out of the barn.”

That is not in dispute.

Ontario already has 939 independent health facilities; of which 904 provide specific diagnostic tests such as diagnostic imaging and nuclear medicine tests. The remaining 35 provide surgical or therapeutic procedures such as abortions, laser dermatology, and opthamology. Almost all of these independent health facilities are run on a for-profit basis.

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Tonight: Medical Reform Group roundtable to examine controversial policy

The government’s decision to have hospitals compete with independent health facilities for the right to deliver services ranging from cataracts to colonoscopies is among the most controversial ideas to emerge recently from the Wynne government.

The Ontario Health Coalition recently completed a campaign that gathered more than 56,000 postcards expressing opposition to the plan.

Doctors in rural communities are worried that losing these services could endanger local hospitals.

Yesterday doctors in Midland said removing cataract surgeries from the Georgian Bay General Hospital and contracting it to a private clinic in Barrie or elsewhere could mean the end of opthamology services in the area.

“Removing cataract procedures from our small hospital would impact allied services,” writes Dr. Martin McNamara, the hospital’s chief of staff, in a recent public letter to the LHIN.

Doctors fear that this could be the beginning of the stripping of local services that could result in the demise of the hospital.

Is it possible to be in favour of a more robust community sector without threatening the stability and scope of services at Ontario’s hospitals? Or do community-based services have to inevitably come from Ontario’s already struggling hospital sector?

Wednesday night (April 9) the Medical Reform Group is hosting a panel discussion in Toronto on whether community-based specialty clinics can deliver better outcomes for patients, providers or the health system as a whole.

Moderated by Dr. Ahmed Bayoumi, the panel includes Dr. John Lavis, Director-McMaster Health Forum; Dr. Danielle Martin, VP Medical Affairs, Women’s College Hospital; and Natalie Mehra, Director of the Ontario Health Coalition.

Dr. Danielle Martin.

Dr. Danielle Martin.

While a regular meeting of the Medical Reform Group, others are welcome to attend this free event. To do so, please RSVP to medicalreform@sympatico.ca or call 416-787-5246. Space is limited.

The Medical Reform Group is a voluntary organization of physicians, residents, and medical students committed to universal high quality health care for all Canadians.

The panel discussion takes place Wednesday, April 9 between 7-9 pm at OPSEU’s Wellesley Membership Centre (lower level), 31 Wellesley Street East (across from the Wellesley subway station). Please be on time — doors will lock after panel begins.