Huge scandal over doctors' pay

Doctors and patients take to the streets of Ontario to campaign against spending cuts

Huge scandal over doctors' pay
“A scandal a day pushes the doctor away.”

That was just one of the placards held outside the Ontario legislature on Saturday (April 23) as patients and doctors alike took to the streets to campaign against spending cuts.

With the message of “fund health, not scandals”, the rally was announced one day after Eric Hoskins, the Ontario health minister for the Liberal government, revealed that more than 500 doctors billed the province’s health insurance plan in excess of $1 million during 2015 – indeed one doctor even billed for $6.6 million.

According to the statistics revealed by Hoskins, the doctors who make the largest billings represent less than two per cent of physicians across Ontario – yet they account for 10 per cent of billings.
The figures and proposed cuts led to the Concerned Ontario Doctors forming a rally, many wearing lab coats and holding up signs with messages such as “care not cuts”.

Speaking to the Canadian Press, Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown suggested that Hoskins had revealed the figures about physician spending in an effort to turn doctors against one another. He said: “I don’t think we need a health minister who’s going to demonize doctors.”

Health issues remain arguably the key point on the agenda for the Ontario 2016 budget – with health accounting for 42 per cent of total program spending in the province. However, doctors believe that it is not enough and that hospitals and practices may have to close their doors because of the cutbacks.

According to Dr Suzanne Dullege, speaking to the Canadian Press, the announcement regarding doctors’ billing was misrepresentative about how much money doctors actually make. According to Hoskins, in his announcement on Friday, the province spends $11 billion each year on physician compensation.

Where do you stand on the doctor’s pay issue? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.