Liberal Cuts to Physician Services Hurt Simcoe County and Barrie Healthcare

QUEEN’S PARK – Last weekend, Leader of the Official Opposition and Simcoe North MPP Patrick Brown met with doctors from the Huronia Urgent Care Clinic in Barrie, where he discussed the state of healthcare in Barrie and Simcoe County.


After learning about the challenges and cuts the urgent care clinic faces, Brown used Question Period to ask the Premier why she isn’t standing up for Barrie and Simcoe County patients.

“The Urgent Care Clinic in Barrie sees 150-200 patients a day. This clinic saves the healthcare system roughly $12-million a year by keeping approximately 40,000 patients out of the Emergency Room and hospital,” said Brown. “The thank you they get from this government is cut after cut after cut. In fact, I learned their funding is being cut at the rate of $5,000 a month.”

As a result of the Liberal Government’s failure to offer alternative care options, non-urgent visits to the Emergency Room continue to increase. Urgent care clinics, which are funded through physician services budgets, offer a viable alternative to ER visits. Yet last year, the Liberal Government cut physician services by $815-million.

“As an emergency physician and Director of the Urgent Care clinic in Barrie, I am continually frustrated with the lack of support for timely access to primary care for the patients of Ontario,” Dr. Monica Wolnik, the Medical Director of the Huronia Urgent Care Clinic, later added. “Our model for Urgent Care has proven to be a cost effective, efficiently run clinic that has provided timely, integrated access for the urgent health care needs of our community for the past 16 years.”

“We are not part of the local hospital budget and we are not funded or supported by the local family health team due to the governments funding model,” continued Wolnik. “The current government with its ongoing unilateral monthly fee cuts will make it very difficult for us to be sustainable. If we are forced to close, that’s 50,000 patients per year in Barrie that will put more pressure on our already overburdened Emergency department.”

Brown concluded his question by asking “These doctors are operating these clinics solely on physician fees – the same fees this government keeps slashing. Can I get a commitment from the Liberal Government that they’ll keep these clinics afloat and they’ll stop the cuts?