Disclaimer: As always, just a reminder that while I am President-Elect of the OMA, the opinions in the blog are mine, and not necessarily representative of either the OMA as a whole. I just like to tell people what I’m thinking.
Changes at the Ministry of Health (MOH)
Interesting change at the MOH. Nancy Naylor, who was the second in command, has left the Ministry. She is going over to the Ministry of Education. I had the opportunity to work (briefly) with Ms. Naylor when I was on the executive of the Section of General and Family Practice. I found her to be a very knowledgeable person and easy to work with. I certainly wish her well.
However, as my loyal fans (both of them) know, I don’t particularly believe in co-incidences (Bob Bell suddenly “retired” when the Liberals lost? Yeah, right). At the MOH Ms. Naylor was the person the LHINs reported to. Leaving that role during a transitional period is very curious timing. Given that Premier Ford has instituted a hiring freeze on bureaucrats, that means that the LHINs don’t currently report to any one other than new Deputy Minister Helen Angus. Frankly, looking after the LHINs as well as doing everything else the Deputy is required to do is a lot to ask. Unless (and this is pure speculation on my part) this foreshadows the long hoped for elimination of the bureaucratic quagmire that are known as LHINs. Be interesting to see how this plays out over the next couple of months.
Changes at the Canadian Medical Association (CMA)
This week, the CMA is holding it’s annual general meeting. Dr. Gigi Osler takes over as President. I had the pleasure of meeting her (however briefly) at the OMA Annual General Meeting in April. Dr. Osler is a remarkable woman with more accomplishments in her pinky finger than I have in my whole body. That the CMA is going to be led by her this year is unquestionably a benefit for the organization (given all their troubles this past year) and for physicians across the country. Dr. Osler is an incredibly passionate advocate for physicians health and well being, and we are all lucky to have her speak out on such an important topic.
I do wonder how she is going to handle the internal politics of the CMA. Based on the interview given by outgoing President Dr. Laurent Marcoux, it really seems to me that the old guard at the CMA (which still populates much of the Board and management) really doesn’t understand just how much they’ve alienated their members. You would think the uproar created by their flawed “Vision 2020” mandate, not to mention the sale of MD Management, would have made them at least reflect on their path. Physicians need a national advocacy association that places their interests first. I hope the CMA recognizes that Dr. Osler’s popularity is because she speaks to that need, and that the old guard doesn’t try to silence her.
More Thoughts on the Strike in Thunder Bay
I still worry about what this means long term for the Port Arthur Clinic. They are all human beings there, and I can’t imagine that it will be easy for them to get back to work. It certainly will take years for the trust to rebuild. I suspect, sadly, that we haven’t heard the last out of issues coming from this clinic. I hope that first and foremost, the patients get the care they deserve.
Ontario Medical Association (OMA) Becoming More Outspoken
It’s been a couple of turbulent years at the OMA. However, it’s nice to see that the leaders of Association speaking out more and more on physicians issues. It started last year when Dr. Shawn Whatley was President and he advocated strongly for physicians first. Through his many blogs (which are required reading for anyone interested in medical politics) and his multiple TV and radio appearances, he really got the ball rolling. His simple mantra that you can’t improve health care by disparaging physicians, while self evident, really struck a chord and needed to be said.
This year of course, we have the incredible Dr. Nadia Alam. Another ridiculously accomplished young physician, she has moved quickly on her belief that the OMA must defend physicians when they are attacked, and defend patients when their care is compromised. This was most recently seen in her quick reaction to the strike in Thunder Bay. Whether in the news, or her personal blogs, she has repeatedly been speaking out on issues where physicians voices are compromised.
While there is still much more to be done at the OMA, it’s refreshing to see that the organization is speaking out on areas like this. It means I have huge shoes to fill next year, but I can honestly say I’ve been inspired by the actions of the last two Presidents.