By Julia Belluz - Friday, September 14, 2012 - 0 Comments
Anyone who has read the news from Canada in the last six months knows that there is a serious labour struggle going on between doctors and governments. In Ontario, the situation has been particularly fraught. Heated negotiations over physician fees—against the backdrop of a $13-billion deficit—have led some of the province’s MDs to warn that, if things don’t change, they’re going to leave for greener pastures.
Radiologists and cardiologists have made public threats, and even idealistic medical students are chiming in. As Stephanie Kenny, of the 2013 class at the University of Ottawa told Science-ish in an email, “The average medical school student today will graduate with $150,000 of debt and will spend 13 years in training after high school before becoming a fully licensed physician.” Though she would “love to practice in Ontario,” she added that “there is a perfect storm brewing that is making this a difficult and unpalatable place to work.”
Now, Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews says she isn’t buying the chatter. But it’s not that far fetched: Canada has experienced doctor brain drains in the past. In the 1990s, when the government capped spending on physicians, there was a steady trickle of Canadian-trained physicians into the U.S. So Science-ish wondered, based on the data we have about the MD workforce, are we poised for a doctor exodus?
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 12:51 PM - 0 Comments
Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews has written to Jason Kenney and Leona Aglukkaq—pdf here—to protest the government’s changes to health care for refugees claimants. The Canadian Press, CBC and Sun cover the back-and-forth. The Montreal Gazette explains the situation.
Under the changes to the Interim Federal Health Program, refugees from countries the minister deems safe, called Designated Countries of Origin, will only be covered for hospital services, services of a doctor or registered nurse, laboratory, diagnostic, and medications and vaccines if these are required to prevent or treat a disease posing a risk to public health or a condition that poses a risk to public safety.
Settled refugees or claimants from countries not deemed safe would be covered for all of the above, except medications and vaccines, which again would only be covered when public health or safety is at risk.
The Star editorializes.
Below, a partial transcript of Mr. Kenney’s comments yesterday. Continue…
By Julia Belluz - Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 3:56 PM - 14 Comments
“I think it’s just too early to tell.”—Ontario health minister Deb Matthews on whether she opposes safe-injection sites, 11/02/2011
In the 1990s, Vancouver was Canada’s capital of drug-related crime and home to the fastest-growing AIDS epidemic in North America. Back then, drug users injecting were a common sight in the city’s Downtown Eastside. They were doing so against the backdrop of a changing HIV epidemic in Canada, with the concentration of the disease shifting from men who have sex with men to addicts sharing needles.
Thus, the city on Canada’s west coast was a fitting locale for Insite, the first safe-injection site on the continent. Allowing people to use pre-obtained drugs under medical supervision could potentially reduce the harms associated with this type of drug use—namely, the risk of overdose and infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C.
Insite fell into the category of what health policy wonks call “harm reduction,” or policies and programs implemented to reduce the adverse health, social and economic consequences of illegal drugs (and other high-risk activities). International health organizations—such as the WHO and UNAIDS—believe in harm-reduction interventions, and endorse them as a key part of a global HIV-prevention strategy. Continue…