Most Blindness Is Preventable
According to the World Health Organization, “three-quarters of all blindness can be prevented or treated”. EPSO believes Ontarians deserve access to the right care from the right professional at the right time.
Failure to treat vision impairment costs the system more.
Low vision patients have:
- 50% increase incidence of motor vehicle accidents
- 2x incidence of social dependence
- 2x the incidence of falls
- 3x risk of depression
- 4x risk of hip fractures
- 2-5x incidence of problems with daily living
- admission to nursing home 3 years earlier
In 2012 the provincial government reduced cataract funding in every Local Integrated Health Network (LHIN) across the province by 10 to 36% which resulted in closures and interruptions to many cataract programs. As a result, wait times have increased. In 2017, fewer Canadians received surgery for cataracts within the recommended wait times compared with 3 years ago (CIHI analysis).
In Ontario, the minimum wait time for cataract surgery can be greater than one year depending on where in Ontario you reside.
Fees paid to Ontario’s ophthalmologists were significantly cut in 2012 and have been reduced again over the last 5 years. Ontario’s ophthalmologists are the lowest paid ophthalmologists in Canada (CIHI data). EPSO’s members aren’t asking for a raise—they just want more provincial funding for vision care services to look after their patients in a proper and humane manner.
Further fee cuts will
- severely impact patients’ access to care in Ontario and patients will lose vision as a result.
- curtail an ophthalmologists’ ability to offer the best diagnostic and treatment technology to patients.
- Impact whether new ophthalmologists stay and work in Ontario where surgical opportunities are limited, and they will be unable to practice the high standards of care they have been taught to follow.
The current environment will only become more exacerbated.
Ontario’s doctors went without a physician services agreement for four years and entered in to binding arbitration. In February 2019, the arbitrator’s award was announced and while the physicians services budget saw normative compensation increases, none of those increases will be allocated to the ophthalmology budget. This contract is in effect until March, 2021.