After five years of Liberal rule, the doctor shortage in Niagara remains virtually unchanged.
Peter Downs wrote in “Is there a doctor in the house”, (St. Catharines Standard, Feb.16, 2008) that “20,000 people in the city are searching for a doctor.”
20,000 out of a population in St. Catharines of what, about 130, 000? Are these the kinds of numbers that St. Catharines Liberal MPP Jim Bradley is proud of?
Wrote Downs: “St. Catharines is short approximately 20 family doctors, while the region as a whole is down about 95, according to Ministry of Health figures.”
Downs wrote of some doctors who are interviewing potential patients before taking them on, for a variety of reasons. No mention was made in the article as to MPP Jim Bradley’s views on this blow back to his Liberal government’s Comittment to the Future of Medicare Act. Bradley’s government has forced patients to only compensate their doctor through the government’s medicare-monopoly-middleman. Will Bradley’s Liberals now begin forcing doctors to accept any and all patients, too? Will the Liberals simply enact provisions forcing all doctors to become salaried state employees?
Back in Nov.17, 1999, when Jim Bradley was in opposition, the St. Catharines Standard wrote in “Witmer, Bradley don’t see eye to eye: Health minister 'fobbing off' duty to alleviate Niagara ophthalmologist shortage, MPP says”:
"Health Minister Elizabeth Witmer "fobbed off responsibility" Tuesday when confronted with the issue of Niagara's eye doctor shortage, St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley says.
Bradley, speaking in the legislature, raised the issue in the form of a question to the minister. He demanded the lifting of an annual billing cap that may cause at least some of Niagara's 13 ophthalmologists to close their doors.
The request wasn't granted.
Instead, Witmer referred to the role of the physician services committee in establishing policies that govern billing cap exemptions. She also stressed how much the government is spending on health care.
"There's no question they're looking for ways of worming out of their commitment to health care," Bradley said afterward by telephone from Toronto.
A news release from his office says he was "disappointed that the minister ... fobbed off responsibility for the shortfall to the physician services committee. ..."”
Bradley was quoted saying: "Minister, will you now do the right thing for the people in the Niagara region -- for patients, particularly elderly patients, in the Niagara region?
"Will you now remove the cap on ophthalmologist billings in the Niagara region so that patients in Niagara can receive the kind of eye care they need and deserve?"
So, there was a link in Bradley’s message at that time (when Good Ole Jimmy was in opposition) between the lifting of salary caps and doctor productivity. Yet, why doesn’t Bradley continue this line of endeavour now (seeing that Jimmy's monopoly-pushing Liberals are in power) for any doctor in any specialty?
Upon whom is Bradley “fobbing off” the doctor shortage today, after five years of his Liberal rule?
When Bradley talked then about “worming” out of health care commitments, it’s ironic that in 2004 his Liberals proceeded to delist previously covered (and supposedly "universal") health coverage, AND to gouge Ontarians with a multi-billion dollar new Health Tax.
The St. Catharines Standard (Jun.7, 2000) reported in “Need a doctor? Look in Hamilton: "Please note that there are currently no family physicians accepting new patients in St. Catharines at the present time." Telephone message at the Lincoln Academy of Medicine” that “The number of family doctors in Niagara dropped about 17 per cent between 1996 and 1999, says a recent report compiled by Niagara's physician resources planning task force. The task force estimates about 100 more family doctors are needed in Niagara.”
The story also reported:
“The doctor shortage in St. Catharines is so critical that some people have been told to look outside Niagara for a family physician.
"I've told a couple of people who were really desperate to go to Hamilton," said Niagara Health System interim chief of staff Dr. Heime Geffen on Tuesday.
Several family physicians in the Hamilton and Stoney Creek area are accepting new patients, according to the Hamilton Academy of Medicine.
"It is regrettable they (doctors) have to give people that advice, but it's understandable in the current situation," said St. Catharines Liberal MPP Jim Bradley.
His office receives about six calls a week from concerned Niagara residents who can't find doctors for themselves or family members.
"There is no question it is an acute problem," said Bradley. "The crisis has been on our steps for the past five years."”
Yet again we need to ask: after five years now of Bradley’s Liberals - what’s changed?!
The shortage remains essentially the same: Niagara region reportedly needed 100 doctors in 2000; it is still short 95 physicians now in February of 2008 - under Bradley’s Liberal government.
It was a "CRISIS" Bradley (along with a giddy, ever-helpful St.Catharines Standard) crowed back then - yet the numbers of doctors Niagara needs essentially hasn't changed; so why isn't Bradley calling it a "CRISIS" today, under his own government's rule?!
And now that is Bradley and his Liberals who are in power, well... ummm... the St.Catharines Standard can't be bothered to focus on that!!
It was “understandable” Bradley said back then…why? …because Bradley, safely in opposition, could conveniently "fob off" the shortage at that time onto the then-Conservative government?!
How many patients are calling Bradley’s office today, looking for doctors?
Has Bradley told us? (The St.Catharines Standard hasn't! Can't embarrass ole Liberal Jimmy - only Conservatives!!)
Have these patients, who were seeking doctors, miraculously vanished from Bradley's office on the very day Bradley's Liberals took office?! I wonder if Bradley finds this “understandable” now in 2008?
Certainly thousands upon thousands of Ontario patients don’t find Jim Bradley's wormy Liberal health-care duplicity “understandable”.