The OMA says the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated long-standing disparities.
THUNDER BAY – The Ontario Medical Association has released a list of a dozen recommendations aimed at addressing health care gaps in northern Ontario.
The action plan includes improving access to physicians, especially in specialties such as family medicine, emergency medicine and anesthesia.
AMOs Northern Ontario Ordinance also addresses what he calls the profound and disproportionate impact of the opioid crisis and mental health issues, including an insufficient number of mental health and addiction providers, especially for children.
It also highlights the inadequacy of home and community care, among other problems.
“Nowhere are the problems more critical than in northern Ontario,” said the plan released Monday.
This is part of the larger OMA Prescription for Ontario blueprint, which provides 75 province-wide recommendations over the next four years.
The association represents 43,000 doctors.
In preparing the document, he consulted over 1,600 medical and medical leaders, hospital representatives, nurses, patient advocacy groups, labor unions and various other stakeholders.
He also heard from nearly 8,000 Ontarians in an online public poll.
More than half of responses from northern Ontario indicated that the way health care is delivered in their community has deteriorated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The main issues identified in the North were wait times and the need for more doctors.
More than half of respondents in Northern Ontario also rated their local health care system a C on a scale of A, B, C or F. More than a quarter gave it a failing rating.
Other concerns that emerged from the study included the lack of high-speed internet service and unreliable connectivity limiting the availability of virtual healthcare, as well as unsafe drinking water and inadequate healthcare facilities and resources. in First Nations communities.
Among its recommendations, the OMA calls for updated incentives and supports for physicians and paramedics to practice in Northern Ontario, creating more opportunities for specialists to undertake electives and basic internships in the North; and focusing on education, training and innovation for collaborative care to address physician shortages.
It also recommends culturally appropriate education and training opportunities to alleviate shortages in rural and remote communities.
Dr. Sarita Verma, President of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, said that “the social isolation of Indigenous communities … and the inequalities experienced by Indigenous peoples have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Our tub of iniquity in northern Ontario was nine tenths full. before COVID, and now it’s overflowing. “
OMA President Dr. Adam Kassam spoke at a press conference at the NOSM Sudbury campus.
He said he agreed that the pandemic has made health care disparities in the North more visible “and the need for solutions more urgent.”
With less than a year before the provincial election, the OMA urges all political parties to adopt its recommendations as part of their programs.