The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO)
As those of you who have read my blogs know, I have been quite critical of the CPSO. I respect the fact that their primary mandate it Is to protect the public. However, in many cases I (and many other physicians) feel that they’ve going overboard in their investigations process. Worse, I recently attended the Canadian Medical Associations National Health Policy Conference. I spoke my colleagues from across the country. It became apparent that the relationship Ontario physicians have with their College is the worst in all of Canada.
Having said that, I confess to being pleasantly surprised at the recent introspective attitude of the CPSO. They presented on physician burnout at the International Conference on Physician Health. One of their own representatives, Dr. Peter Prendergast, noted the adverse effects on physicians of the protracted complaints process in Ontario. The additional burden they’re placing on physicians by not expeditiously dealing with frivolous cases, and how this contributes to the burnout crisis in medicine. He acknowledged the need for changing a toxic system.
This is the first time in my 26 years of practice that I can recall the CPSO making such a comment. I am grateful that they’re doing so. I suspect that this is because the CPSO has a new Registrar, Dr. Nancy Whitmore, who appears to be slowly changing (for the better) the way things are done there. Many physicians will say there’s much more they can do, but I’m grateful for these first steps.
Canadian Medical Association (CMA)
Similarly, the CMA has been under a lot of fire from physicians recently. Tweets like this one, from former Ontario Medical Association president Dr. Scott Wooder, highlight the betrayal many physicians felt in this organization.
Having said that I also need to acknowledge that the CMA has put a very strong emphasis recently on physician burnout. They were the sponsors of the International Conference on Physician Health. CMA president Dr. Gigi Osler has been doing yeoman’s work to highlight this issue in the press. At the National Health Policy forum that I attended, the CMA dedicate a lot of time on this issue, and is developing plans to tackle this growing crisis.
If the CMA continues to make dealing with physician burnout its main priority, it will do much to regain the trust that it is lost from its members. I sincerely hope that this will continue, and confess to being cautiously optimistic.
Ministry of Health (MOH) Reorganization
Last week, Global news obtained a copy of a letter from Deputy Health Minister Helen Angusindicating major restructuring at the MOH. The letter itself contained at the usual bureaucratic jargon, like this line:
“centralizing the responsibilities for LHIN managed health services under an associate aligned with key capacity, workforce and planning functions allowing for end-to-end management of health services for better outcomes and improved integration.”
The headache that I got from trying to figure out exactly what that sentence mean was not curable by a combination of 600 mg of ibuprofen and 650 mg of acetaminophen. However, a quick Google search shows that the object of the letter was to indicate a streamlining of bureaucracy.
Here’s an organizational chart of how the Ministry of health used to function:
Here’s an organizational chart how the Ministry of health will function now:
Many people (myself included) will undoubtedly feel that this reduction in streamlining in bureaucracy does not go far enough. But it still represents the first reduction in bureaucracy at the MOH that I can remember in my 26 years of practicing medicine. It is a laudable first step. MORE please!
One Last Thing:
As mentioned in the title to this blog, it’s important to give credit where credit is due. The changes I listed above appear to all be steps in the right direction. Perhaps I should allow myself a small amount of optimism for the future.