Leaning In

December 22, 2015 by | 4 comments

Leaning in may take some planning.

Leaning in may take some planning.

With the recent unilateral cuts to physicians services in Ontario and the ill-planned New Graduate Entry Program (NGEP) there is a natural urge to get angry, feel hurt, and to disengage. There is a feeling that if the government isn’t going to play fair, then why play at all?

The reality, however, is that just as the earth continues to revolve and our population continues to age, the government will continue to struggle with healthcare budgets and continue to plan for primary care reform – with or without us all on board. When the emotional dust settles, there is a stark choice: to be a part of the ongoing planning conversation, or to fight in the aftermath. We have seen recent examples of planning without appropriate consultation, and we could be signing up for a future of major healthcare letdowns if we continue to turn a blind eye. It is much easier to change the course of a project in the planning stages than in the implementation stages. If we continue to shout our protests off amongst ourselves we may have no voice left to shout with once the damage is done.

That is why I have adopted a slightly different thought: Get proactive.
•I have attended more OMA meetings these past few months than I have fingers
•I have contacted my local MPP – a first for me (no response)
•I have blogged (the humanity!)
•I have submitted a letter to a newspaper editor – (no response)

Each process has been eye-opening, formative, and frustrating. What I would have preferred to do is continue to put my head down and do my work, hoping that when I look up in a few months everything will be sorted out. My fear, however, is that when I look up I may see a system in which I am not optimally able to contribute, and that I will have missed a key opportunity to help set the course for reform.

So I’m keeping my head up.

What if we all pushed our own boundaries a little bit and engaged with the system more than we have in the past? What if we push to be at the planning tables, insist that we are on all the relevant committees, and present for all of the key meetings? System reform certainly needs input from administrators, nurses, patients, and a wide range of other stakeholders, but it also needs doctors. Let’s fill the empty seats and invite others to join us.

About the Author

Taylor Lougheed is a physician in Family and Emergency Medicine, and passionate about sustainable public healthcare, quality improvement and patient safety, medical education, and global health.


  1. Antoine

    I agree that if we aren’t engaged in the reform process we shouldn’t be complaining about the changes. Thank you for your post, Taylor.

  2. Darren Larsen

    Great job Taylor.
    Double down I say — get more involved. Send twice as many people to meetings.
    Be more present when under fire.

    You have a new subscriber!


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