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Ontario fee cuts could prompt doctors to leave: poll

Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews

Michelle Siu/The Globe and Mail

Ontario could see an exodus of doctors if the government does not reverse its unilateral fee cuts for many services, a new survey suggests.

Among the 5,596 doctors who participated in the survey done by Nanos Research, four in 10 said they would consider moving to another jurisdiction. One in five doctors in the province participated in the survey, which was commissioned by the Ontario Medical Association.

"The reality is losing any doctors is not going to be good for health care in Ontario," pollster Nik Nanos said in an interview. "It will have a negative impact."

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Talks between doctors and the province broke down last month after the government rejected the OMA's request to hire a conciliator and unilaterally imposed fee cuts on services provided by a number of high-paid specialists, mostly radiologists, ophthalmologists and cardiologists.

Of those surveyed by Nanos, 81 per cent said they believed the government acted irresponsibly or somewhat irresponsibly.

"The thing that makes doctors the most angry is the unilateral action of the government," OMA president Doug Weir said in an interview.

Health Minister Deb Matthews expressed frustration over the impasse.

"We would be back at the table tomorrow if they would come back," she said on Sunday.

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About the Author

Karen Howlett is a national reporter based in Toronto. She returned to the newsroom in 2013 after covering Ontario politics at The Globe’s Queen’s Park bureau for seven years. Prior to that, she worked in the paper’s Vancouver bureau and in The Report on Business, where she covered a variety of beats, including financial services and securities regulation. More

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