McGuinty Liberals Attack Rural Healthcare(Queen's Park Report - July 20, 2009) The McGuinty Government is threatening to short-change rural communities with an attack on rural healthcare that will strip communities in our riding and throughout Ontario of essential doctor recruitment funding. If the Liberals follow through with this plan it will severely hurt our ability to attract doctors in Simcoe-Grey.
This is because the Government has started to use a new Rurality Index for Ontario (RIO) scale, which scores communities based on population and geographic proximity to healthcare. This would mean communities under a score of 40 would no longer receive funding for doctor recruitment.
This issue was first brought to my attention by Kathryn Mooij, Physician Recruitment Coordinator at Stevenson Memorial Hospital in Alliston, who is justifiably concerned that New Tecumseth will lose incentives provided under the Underserviced Area Program (UAP) that are necessary to attract doctors to our communities.
In our riding, Adjala-Tosorontio, Collingwood, Essa, New Tecumseth, Springwater, Wasaga Beach, and Clearview, will all lose their funding as they all score below 40 on the rurality index. The only area that might retain its funding is the Town of the Blue Mountains as they have a score 47 on the index.
While the government is still consulting on these changes, my colleague Bob Runciman correctly called this dog and pony show a “smokescreen” for cuts which have already been decided on by Dalton McGuinty, which calls into question the relevance of the upcoming consultations.
This, of course, comes at a time when close to a million Ontarians are still without a family doctor, and it is in the aftermath of the E-Health scandal, another clear sign that the McGuinty government is completely lost on healthcare, attacking rural health services and giving out fat paycheques to their friends at E-Health.
My colleagues and I in the Progressive Conservative Party are fighting this change. You can lend a hand by signing my petition which is available both on my website at www.jimwilsonmpp.com, as well as at my offices in Alliston and Collingwood.
I hope you will take the time to sign the petition and pass it on to friends and family to do the same. The ability of our rural communities to have access to quality healthcare is far too important to not act quickly in calling on Mr. McGuinty to reverse this devastating decision.