Perhaps you’ve heard? Family Doctors are burning out and there’s a Primary Care crisis in Ontario.
There are innumerable reasons. But here’s one cause with a tangible solution.
Wait times for specialists and investigations are too long – or outright inaccessible. Family Doctor referrals are often being met with wait times of 18 months or longer. Or simply rejected.
We Family Doctors know what our patients need:
- Needs an EMG and to see a neurologist.
- Needs to see Ob/Gyn for bladder incontinence surgery.
- Needs to see a child psychiatrist for severe behavioural concerns.
- Needs an urgent MRI.
- etc etc etc
We send the referrals accordingly. Only to later receive the reply “Sorry, we can’t help you. Please refer elsewhere.” What’s best is when you receive these rejection notices 6-12 months after the fact … /sarcasm. And what’s more, there is no “elsewhere.”
We Family Doctors are repeatedly banging our heads against the door, but no one is answering on the other side.
- This itself causes morale burnout. Because we cannot do what we long to do: help patients.
- It also causes excess administrative burnout and waste of resources within our clinics and staff. Having to fax, and refax, and refax, and investigate where on earth we can redirect the referrals each time.
The solution: centralized referrals.
But not just regionalized centralized referrals. I’m talking about provincial centralized referrals, as I’ll illustrate below.