The impacts of COVID-19 alone will be devastating to my practice. As an older doctor seeing mostly OHIP patients, the new restrictions in the workplace means I can barely pay my share of the overhead. I can’t carry on without dramatically increasing my hours, which I’m not prepared to do. It’s pretty disastrous.
The way OHIP renumeration is set up was already dire. In my 35 years, I have gone through every negotiation with the Government and been an active voice for reform. I’ve had meetings, written letters and done everything I could possibly do only to find ourselves back to square one. All this work and absolutely nothing has changed.
Optometrists have never been properly compensated for the work we do. I find myself asking why am I doing this – there’s no way to earn an income of any kind. I, myself, will be left with no choice but to retire. For 35 years, I have always put my patients first. I care for my patients and their health. But it’s no longer a time to play nice. We can’t afford to continuously roll over and just do what’s best for patients – as much as we want to. It’s gone on for so long, it might be putting us out of business.
This will not help save eye care in Ontario.
I’m reaching a turning point. The stresses of reduced patient intake, high overhead and inadequate reform for optometrists is such that I can’t enjoy my job anymore. It’s become challenging for me moving forward to justify working. It’s just not feasible.
When will the government start to listen?