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Local doctor stands against provincial pay cuts

By Michelle Poirier [1]

BELLEVILLE – A Hastings County doctor has taken a stand against the 1.3 per cent pay cut about to be imposed on physicians by the Ontario government.

Starting Oct. 1, Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long Term Care [2] will implement the cuts, which will lower the pay of doctors and cap the number of patients they can see per year.

Adam Stewart, [3] a family physician at Tri Area Medical Centre [4] in Madoc, has written an open letter [5] to Premier Kathleen Wynne and Health Minister Eric Hoskins to protest the cuts.

“I received a template-like generic, unhelpful response from Premiere Wynne’s office,” Stewart told QNet News this week. “To be honest with you, I think that no response would have been more respectful than the one that I got. It was filled with more government rhetoric and spin and not even addressing the issues at hand.”

He has received a letter of support from the Municipality of Centre Hastings [6] and said Bay of Quinte Conservative MPP Todd Smith has been supportive of the local health care community.

Stewart said the physicians are angry and frustrated because of the government’s lack of a collaborative process with the physicians.

The government is “heavy-handedly coming down and imposing its will,” he said. They are painting doctors to seem like greedy millionaires, which is untrue and disrespectful, he added.

“I would emphasize that the government has been liking to spin that it is all about doctors’ paycheques, but it’s not,” Stewart said. “It’s about the government underfunding peoples’ health care and putting a limit on the amount of health care that they can receive.”

Dr. Mike Toth, president of the Ontario Medical Association [7], said this is the second cut this year, with the first being 2.6 per cent in January, and that the cuts are going to play a factor in whether new doctors will work in Ontario.

“We are already hearing that doctors just graduating are looking at other venues. At the other end older doctors are looking at retiring, ” he told QNet.

Toth said doctors are frustrated and they are not looking forward to the changes that the cuts will make.

Ontario’s Ministry of Health did not reply to questions from QNet News by deadline.