The Ontario government is urging all physicians to take care of the individual rather than the actual patient, saying it is now safe to offer high COVID-19 vaccination rates and readily available personal protective equipment.
In a letter to Ontario physicians on Wednesday, Chief Medical of Health Dr. Kieran Moore, Deputy Health Minister Patrick Dicerini and College of Physicians and Surgeon CEO Nancy Whitmore say they are often hearing complaints about not providing personal care in offices.
“There are limits to what can be done virtually, and it is difficult to meet the quality of care in a virtual-care environment,” the letter states.
Although it is ultimately up to the physician to decide what kind of appointment is needed, personal care is needed and expected to diagnose and determine treatment.
“There are many patients who simply cannot meet the quality of care in a virtual care environment,” the letter said.
This month, Toronto parents are struggling to get in-patient appointments with their pediatrician even after a negative test for Kovid-19, News reported. Instead, they were referred to the SickKids Emergency Department or St. Joseph’s Just for Kids Clinic for diseases such as a stomach bug or an ear infection.
Both hospitals reported an increase in patients with relatively minor illnesses this summer and fall. A spokesman for SickKids told The News that August, usually its quietest month, is the busiest so far this year, seeing about 6,000 patients. Parents reported waiting times of up to 10 hours.
The college says that news specialists in the past have been receiving referrals to patients who haven’t had a physical examination before to actually see one.
The Ontario Patients Ombudsman and the Senior Advocacy Center also reported an increase in complaints from patients who were unable to see their doctors in person.