I wonder how many of us are aware of the Ontario government’s intent to drastically overhaul our healthcare services.
Ontario is one of Canada’s richest provinces but Ontario’s health care spending is already well below the Canadian average. What are the impending consequences of cutting that funding even more?
On November 12 the media announced the opening of a new volunteer-driven campaign office at 24 Queen St. E. A quick visit to this site offers much information about the government’s intended cuts to hospitals, public health care units, long-term care facilities and ambulance services across our province.
The Ford government intends to cut funding for and eliminate 25 out of 35 local public health units across Ontario. The Algoma Health Unit is designated to be grouped with other northeastern health units, as well as Muskoka, into a very huge area. How that will affect our local public health programs has not been revealed.
The Ontario government intends to eliminate 49 out of 59 local paramedic and ambulance services, and eliminate 12 of 22 local dispatch units. Having our community belong to one of ten giant dispatch regions will likely make it a lesser priority and risk our service level.
The Ford government will impose more real-dollar cuts to public hospital funding, even though Ontario has the fewest hospital beds left per person of any province in Canada. Ontario has a crisis of hospital overcrowding, to which many people who have needed hospital care can attest. More funding cuts will result in more cuts to services and staff and even longer wait times. Ultimately we know that this can lead to more privatization and, sadly, higher death rates.
The latest Ontario budget indicates that the government will make real-dollar cuts to long-term care homes. We know that long-term care homes need more funding, not less. Without adequate funding, staffing levels are not sufficient to provide the necessary daily hands-on care that residents require. We are all aware that very grave issues of neglect and violence have occurred in some facilities across the province. In Sault Ste. Marie we have had several long-term care homes closed to new admissions due to serious non-compliance with requirements under the Long Term Care Homes Act.
If you are concerned with the coming changes to Ontario’s health care you can find out more at the local fight back campaign office. The local campaign will culminate in a public event on Saturday, November 30 at noon at the George Leach Centre. The Ontario Health Coalition will sponsor the event. The message to the Ford government is that we need our local public health services expanded not cut.