Ambushed: Doctors interrupt minister to protest refugee healthcare cuts

Posted by admin on Jul 13th, 2012

by Graham Lanktree

Shouting over a speech by Minister of State for Sport Bal Gosal, Dr. Mark Tyndall said he is disgusted with the federal government for denying proper healthcare to 100,000 refugees.

I’m showing a lack of respect to our Conservative government, not the athletes,” Tyndall, the Chair of the Infectious Diseases Division at the University of Ottawa’s Department of Medicine, said about interrupting an event showing off members of Canada’s Olympic track team Friday.

“I love the athletes, but there’s no other opportunity for us to talk about this,” he said. “This is a perfect event to do this at because the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and justice are exactly what we’re denying refugees by cutting these healthcare costs.”

Under new rules that took effect June 30, refugees whose claims have been accepted will get benefits under the Interim Federal Health Plan only if it is an urgent or essential nature.

Medications and vaccines will be covered only if needed to prevent or treat a disease that is a public health risk or concern to public safety.

As a medical student, I’m going into clinics and am seeing my supervising doctors having to have very difficult conversations with their patients, said Dolly Lin, a first-generation immigrant and University of Ottawa medical student.

Patients are unable to get their prescriptions filled, patients are being denied eligibility for even small diagnostic blood tests, and to me that’s really concerning to hear, she said.

Tyndall said that Minister Gosal has received many requests from healthcare organizations asking to speak with him about the issue, but have been denied.

Each minister communicates with everybody, Gosal said in response to Tyndall’s claims.

We’re talking to constituents all the time. Anybody can come and talk to me. The ministers are available all around the country. This event is to celebrate our athletes.


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