Family doctor competition called madness

Mac's Musings—Claude McIntosh
Family doctor competition called madness
Mac's Musings

Back in the 1960s when baby boomers were packing Ontario high school classrooms, school boards duked it out for teachers at the annual job fare at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto.

The competition was fierce. It was often referred to as the “meat market”.

Today, we have municipalities in Ontario competing with each other for family doctors, each trying to out-do the other with incentives funded by the local tax base.

It is, as a Kingston city councillor put it last week, “absolute madness.”

One doesn’t think of Kingston with one of the finest medical schools in the country and hospitals staffed with specialists and interns as a community begging for family doctors.

Last week, the Whig-Standard reported that hundreds of desperate Kingston residents lined up on a cold winter day, some arriving at day-break, to get a chance to sign on with a new family doctor. Hundreds were turned away.

It was Kingston, but it could have been any Ontario community.

Just to the west of Kingston, two family doctors in Wellington closed their practices last week, leaving 2,400 patients without a doctor. It is something that is becoming all too common. Chances of finding a family doctor are slim to none.

Experts say that the number of Ontario residents without a family doctor could double in the next five years which will exacerbate the dog-eat-dog competition.

Back when the Harris government was slashing and burning social programs, to the cheers of many, a Globe and Mail columnist noted that the lack of public push back would come to a screeching halt when it came time to cut health care.

That (health care) affects everybody, he said.

These days, hundreds of thousands of folks who have lost their family doctor and land in health care purgatory could care less that millions of tax dollars are being spent to make the province greener.

They’d rather have a family doctor.

THIS MONTH IN 1959:  A curfew that went into effect on March 20 made for an early night for those under 16. The curfew, part of the Child Welfare Act, required those under 16 to be home by 9 p.m. Three local factories in different parts of the city would sound the curfew with blasts from their steam whistles. Police said the curfew would be strictly enforced and parents of curfew-breakers would be held responsible. … It was hardly worth the effort. That is what thieves who broke into the Miller-Hughes dealership on Pitt Street had to be thinking when all they got for their effort – breaking in through a rear window, breaking down doors and thrashing offices –was $30 in small bills and change taken from a cash box. An attempt to break into a safe – which contained $3,000 – failed. Police said a medical stethoscope left behind probably was used to try and detect the combination. … Cornwall Cablevision expanded the new service in the city west of Pitt Street. … The federal government announced that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip would spend two hours in Cornwall during their Royal Visit. The Royals would attend a luncheon at the Cornwallis Hotel. The ball room was re-named the Queen Elizabeth Room. … Alfie and Roger Perras opened a new B-A service station at Pitt and Sixth streets. … Osnabruck District High School in Ingleside won the district inter-school oratorical contest.Members of the winning team were Carol Hollister, Sandra MacMillan, Neil Richer, Carol Bruyns and Robert Bruce. … Courtaulds Canada Ltd. announced that its Cornwall plant would convert to oil from coal. The plant used 120,000 tons of coal each year and made a huge contribution to the city’s poor air quality. … The roof of the Maxville Curling Club caved in. Fortunately, the building was empty. … Enrolment at CCVS was 1,112, while the student head count at SLHS was 938. … SLHS won the EOSSA junior boys’ basketball title. Team members were Don McKay, Sam Gibson, Pat Valiquette, Bert Martin, Dennis Jacobs, Wayne Runte, John Jacobson, Doug Murray, Don Andrews, Glen Christoff, Ian McLeod and Jacques Richard.Joe “Skip” St. Denis retired as the juvenile court probation officer but would stay on with the city recreation department which he had joined in 1932. He took on the role of probation officer in 1941. … Cornwall Chevies dropped a 4-1decision to Whitby Dunlops and lost the Ontario Hockey Associationsenior A semi-final in six games. Ex-NHLer Sid Smith had two goals for the Dunnies. … A canal landmark of sorts, a small snack shack at the foot of Gloucester Street, was closing after losing a big chunk of business when the St. Lawrence Seaway made Cornwall Canal obsolete. When ships were plying the canal it did a brisk business with sailors. … English elementary school enrolment in the city and counties was 19,013 with 230 schools and 659 teachers. High school enrolment was 4,050. Cornwall Collegiate had the largest enrolment, 1,062. St. Lawrence had 798 students. … Dickie Moore of the Montreal Canadiens set an NHL points record when he won the regular season scoring title with 96 points. It was his second straight scoring title. Out of hockey, Moore, the quintessential nice guy,founded the Dickie Moore construction rental company and became a wealthy entrepreneur.

TRIVIA: Before he got into the coffee/doughnut business (Tim Hortons), Ron Joyce work at this job in Hamilton: 1) Steelco Foundry, 2) Truckdriver, 3) Police officer, 4) Baker, 5) Grocery store manager.

TRIVIA ANSWER: James Pliny Whitney was born in Williamsburg (Dundas County) in 1843 and served as Ontario premier from 1905 until 1914 when he died in office at age 70 shortly after being returned to office. The Whitney Block across the street from the legislature building which houses the premier’s office and most of cabinet is named after him.

QUOTED: “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone driver faster than you is a maniac.” – GeorgeCarlin


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