New bill not in Patient’s interests by Dr. Terry McVey

Published February 1, 2017

This article first appeared in the Nov. 16/2016 issue of the North Renfrew Times and is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author.

This week, doctors will advocate for changes to deeply flawed Bill 41 in order to protect patient privacy and challenge the need to increase health-care bureaucracy at the expense of patient care.

As family physician to many of you in Deep River and surrounding area, I am deeply concerned that Bill 41 was created without any valuable input from doctors, who provide care on the front lines every day.

I am dismayed that the Ontario government chooses to ignore the experienced, knowledge and ideas that doctors bring to the table.

Instead of a meaningful consultation, the government has ignored our calls for amendments, and continues to push through Bill 41. This is yet another example of this government’s inability to work constructively with doctors.

After cutting short debate on the bill in the legislature, the Liberals are now limiting debate on this important piece of legislation at committee.

The Ontario Medical Association and a number of doctors are seeking the chance to present to committee, but because of the time limits not all of these concerned voices will get to be heard.

I am opposed to Bill 41 because it allows politicians and bureaucrats to prioritize their decisions about the health-care system over the care needs of patients.

It gives government the power to override the expertise of physicians and local health care providers in order to ration care and stay within their budget instead of putting the well-being of patients first.

Additionally, Bill 41 – as it is currently written – will permit all government investigators to access personal health records without patient consent in the name of “public interest”. I do not believe the changes proposed are in the interest of patients and so I call on the government to make changes to Bill 41 before it becomes law.

(Editor’s note: Bill 41, which received Royal Assent in December 2016, can be found here: http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&BillID=4215&detailPage=bills_detail_the_bill).

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