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The following is an open letter to Simcoe North MPP, Jill Dunlop, as well as Minister of Health, Sylvia Jones, and the Premier's office.
I just came back from a specialist appointment and found out that I have to have a separate appointment to obtain the results of a test. I asked to have a phone consultation instead, something that was routinely done during COVID-19. I was told that, as of late 2022, it is no longer allowed by the Ministry of Health!
I am an immuno-compromised senior, but even if I were not, this makes no sense. Why would the ministry want us to drive, sometimes long distances, and sit in a (usually) crowded waiting room when a simple phone call would be sufficient?
A worker would certainly find it easier to schedule a short break in the workday for a conversation than to have to take a sick day (that may no longer be available to all employees) to be there in person. Employers, too, would prefer productive workers to stay on the job. And stay-at-home parents wouldn't have to drag their children to doctors' offices.
As a taxpayer, I wonder why scheduling another appointment would be preferable anyway? A quick phone call likely had a lesser charge to OHIP, saving us money that could be put back into the health system. And it allows doctors to see more patients as it uses less time, reducing the backlog of patients waiting for an appointment.
With the current shortage of doctors, both family physicians and specialists, at least the option of phone consultations for things like simple lab results seems more practical and advantageous all around. I would really like to know the rationale behind this. We know we need to fix the health-care system, and surely utilizing technology like this is one way to alleviate some of the pressures.
The government needs to be truly open and transparent in explaining why they are refusing these measures that appear to both save taxpayer money and make our system more efficient. We are owed an explanation.