Have your say in shaping the future of health care

© Can Stock Photo / JohnKwan

The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) wants Ontarians to let them know how they feel about the health care system.

The OMA has launched a survey to hear about health care concerns in order to improve the system. The association said it’s time to “fix the cracks in the health care system that were exposed by COVID-19″ and it starts with hearing from patients, families, friends, and neighbours about their health care priorities.

The survey will be used by the OMA to recommend improvements to health care services across Ontario as the province emerges from the pandemic. The recommendations are aimed at addressing immediate health care priorities, long term care, the backlog of health care services built up during the pandemic, access to mental health, and other issues that have not had enough attention during the past 15 months.

“This is a huge province and health care priorities here can be very different from those in other regions like Toronto,” said local district chair Dr. Albert Ng of Windsor. “As we create a plan for the future of health care in Ontario, from the grassroots up, we are asking everyone across the province to provide their input to ensure local health care needs are considered.”

According to the OMA, doctors in every region of the province have been meeting to discuss what changes are needed to address the issues they experience first-hand every day. They have also been working on the front lines side-by-side with nurses and other health care providers to save lives during the pandemic and have been discussing what issues need to be addressed as the province emerges from it.

The association noted more than 8,400 Ontarians have died during the pandemic, including more than 3,900 seniors in long term care.The OMA reported more than 15.9 million patient services have been missed during the pandemic, roughly one for every Ontarian and the provincial Financial Accountability Office said it will cost $1.3 billion and take 3.5 years to clear the backlog of surgeries and diagnostic procedures.

“Doctors are listening,” Dr. Ng said. “By completing the survey, we will help identify the first steps that need to be taken as the health care system refocuses its efforts beyond the pandemic.”

The Ontario Medical Association added it will be consulting over the next few months with the public, members, health care stakeholders, community leaders, elected officials, and government parties to get input that will drive its health care recommendations.