Several hundred people showed up to today’s (Saturday April 23rd) rally against cuts to public healthcare at Queen’s Park today that was organized by Concerned Ontario Doctors. The afternoon began with several powerful speeches by physicians, patients and politicians from the Ontario PC and NDP parties. Following the speeches there was a moment of silence for a patient that had planned on speaking but had passed away while being on a waiting list for treatment. Shortly thereafter, a massive procession of people marched through the streets of Toronto waving placards, chanting and being cheered on by hundreds of people observing. Picture a loud, chanting group stretching a block and half long and four people wide with police halting traffic at every intersection. Needless to say, attention was drawn to the crisis in healthcare funding in Ontario.
“When the day started many of the buses were caught in Blue Jay traffic so i thought “oh no….there is only like 100 people. Here”. About 10 minutes into the rally though the numbers swelled considerably. There are estimates between 500-800 people. The speeches, moment of silence and particularly the march through the streets were powerful. The number of cars with Windows down cheering us on, honking, etc shows how concerned people are. It was inspiring. Interesting that Health Minister Dr. Hoskins tried to pre-spin it with his Friday press meeting. What he doesn’t state is that those “high earning doctors” specifically the $6.6 million one is not single doc but rather represents a clinic of docs, but never let the truth get in the way of a good argument.”
There was EXTENSIVE media coverage (both television and radio) from the likes of CBC television, Radio-Canada, CTV, City TV, 680 News, Global, CP 24, and several others media outlets. Be on the look out tonight and tomorrow for coverage. You should see many pro-GBGH signs!
While the day was not focussed on GBGH specifically, dozens of ardent supporters from North Simcoe made our voices heard through specific signage as well as conversations with others from across the province. Several of our North Simcoe contingent were interviewed for news reports. It will help get word out to the province as to the crisis at our local hospital.
Please see below a typed out copy of a document that was prepared and distributed today by the Concerned Ontario Doctors to help you get a better idea of what some of the topics were today.
“April 23, 2016 – Toronto, ON
Concerned Ontario Doctors Rally
PATIENTS BEFORE POLITICS
STAND WITH CONCERNED ONTARIO DOCTORS
Remaining silent is not an option for Concern Ontario Doctors when patient welfare is at stake. The last time the physicians rallied at Queen’s Park was in the 1980s. Thirty years later, physicians are once again standing shoulder to shoulder with patients, politicians, nurses and other allied health providers to demand “Patients Before Politics”.
On January 2015, contract negotiations between the Ontario Medical Association and the Provincial Liberals failed. Against the advice of all, the government imposed its will on physicians anyways. Through a combination of escalating cuts to funding for physician services, reductions in trainee positions, ill-advised, rash programs, and grossly underfunding the healthcare system, the Ontario government has precipitated a crisis in healthcare. For this reason, physicians are speaking out, patients are speaking out and even the Opposition parties are speaking out.
Spokespeople for the Ontario Liberals minimize the danger by misconstruing it as an issue of physician income. However, Concerned Ontario Doctors, a grassroots advocacy group of over 11,000 physician members has a growing body of evidence that these unilateral actions go beyond impacting physician pay to actually harming patient care and access. Unable to keep long-established clinics afloat, physicians are burning out and leaving Ontario. Many are retiring earlier than planned. New graduates face significant roadblocks to starting practices to replace the manpower that is being lost. This information has been carefully compiled, verified and mapped out by front-line physicians across Ontario.
Physicians are the cornerstone of medical care in the community and in hospitals. The consequences of a physician closing practice are severe: one to two thousand patients unable to access care; the loss of 4 full-time jobs; longer wait-times for diagnosis, treatment or referral; and, local hospitals forced to shoulder the burden of care for orphaned patients. This is happening all over Ontario. This is why we stand in protest today. Stand with us and demand that the Ontario Liberals commit to binding arbitration for physician negotiations to put an end to harmful unilateral actions. Stand with us and demand that the Ontario Liberals commit to adequate funding for your healthcare.
Dr. Andrew Lu, Dr. Mark Linder, Dr. Nadia Alam, Dr. Kulvinder Gill
Patients: Ms. Lisa Hamilton, Mr. Chris Cull, Ms. Janet Hussy
Mr. Jeff Yurek (PC Health Critic – MPP Elgin-Middlesex-London), Mr. Jagmeet Singh (Deputy Leader of Ontario NDP, MPP Bramalea-Gore-Malton), Mr. Patrick Brown (Leader of the Official Opposition – Ontario PC, MPP Simcoe North)”
Submission: Tom Baker SOS GBGH Group