Our Friendly Neighbourhood Family Doctor

by Kris Bonn

As a personal injury and medical malpractice lawyer, I work with many doctors. In every one of my cases there is a doctor involved. In my experience over the past 16 years in almost every case a client’s family doctor is the unsung hero.

Family doctors in Ontario go over and above the call of duty for their patients. Their primary duty is to care for their patient’s health, which they do with dedication, skill, and expertise. But family doctors are called on to do so much more. They are asked to fill out disability forms, advocate for their patients with government agencies, answer letters from annoying lawyers, and be a shoulder to cry on for their patients. I could not do my job as a lawyer representing injured people without the help and expertise of talented family doctors.

In Ontario we are blessed with universal healthcare. Our doctors are paid by the government. What many may not know is that our doctors in Ontario have been working without a firm contract for the past 5 years. It is time for the government of Ontario to take the necessary steps to properly value our family doctors. Doctors are not generally known to be activists but the current healthcare crisis in Ontario has caused a group of doctors to become more vocal. Concerned Ontario Doctors is calling for needed changes to our healthcare system of Ontario. As reported by the CBC recently, the organization is calling on opposition parties and political candidates in the upcoming election to do the following:

• Reduce bureaucracy to put patients first and to create a lean, efficient health care management system with oversight from the Ontario ombudsman and auditor-general
• Create a health care task force composed of frontline physicians, who have active practices in the community and knowledge of the problems in the system, to find solutions to the health care crisis that will enable the system to be sustainable
• Restore trust and respect between the province and physicians, while protecting doctors’ free speech
• Address the problem of physician burnout and high suicide rates
• Conduct an independent forensic review of the Ontario Medical Association that would be overseen by a retired Ontario appeal court or superior court judge

I agree with these recommendations.

You can help make a change. In the coming election ask your local candidates for their position on healthcare and in particular how we can make changes to better support our doctors. When we need them most our doctors are there for us, it is time we are there for them.

Kris Bonn, Personal Injury Lawyer
Bonn Law