Families need better access to family doctors and primary care: NDP

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Ontario NDP Health Critic France Gélinas is calling for better access to family doctors and primary care providers, as a new report reveals that more than half of Ontarians are forced to wait for the care they need.

“When your child is sick, you should be able to make an appointment to see your family physician or nurse practitioner the same day. It’s not too much to expect,” said Gélinas. “But for too many families across Ontario, that’s just not possible. The Liberals have watched this problem grow and now access to primary care in Ontario lags behind other parts of the world. It’s unacceptable to make moms and dads wait for the care their families need.”

Health Quality Ontario’s new report, Quality in Primary Care, reveals that only 44 percent of Ontarians are able to access same-day or next-day appointments with their primary care provider when they are ill. Overall, Ontario’s performance trails behind the United States and European countries.

“The health minister and this government need to take responsibility for failing Ontarians so badly. The Liberals have never taken oversight of primary care seriously, and today they still don’t have a real plan to improve access,” said Gélinas. “The Liberals should focus on doing their job and making it easier for families to get an appointment with a primary care provider. Instead, this government is too busy fighting doctors and laying off hundreds of nurses from our hospitals, which does nothing to improve care.”

The report shows that families in rural communities and the North are struggling with even worse access to primary care than the rest of the province, while new Canadians and low-income Ontarians continue to face significant barriers to care.

“New Democrats know that every Ontarian should be able to access our public health care system, no matter where they live or what language they speak. Tackling inequities in our health care system is a matter of fairness. It may not be a priority for this government, but it’s certainly a priority for us.”