SooToday received the following letter about the state of health care in Ontario.
Reneging on its promise and despite widespread criticism, the Ford government has moved ahead to privatize core public hospital services. We should all be concerned.
Bill 60 was passed into law by the Conservative majority government last May. The Ontario government is cutting core services from public hospitals and transferring them to private for-profit hospitals and clinics. All opposition parties have denounced this legislation.The new legislation gives the government the power to deregulate a range of health professions. This includes an easing of the definitions of many healthcare occupations. Bill 60 also removes the oversight of private clinics from the strict rules of the Health Ministry and from public scrutiny or financial disclosure.
The government has promised to fund private clinics with tens of millions of taxpayer dollars while at the same time it is underfunding public health care. Public hospital funding in Ontario is the lowest of all the provinces and territories.
While we have been assured that we will just pay with our OHIP card, history has shown that patients will be faced with user charges and extra billing.
Many health-care advocates, such as the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) and the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC), maintain that Ontario should invest in public hospitals to perform more surgeries rather than set up a new system that will rob resources from the public system. A scathing report by the Financial Accountability Office reveals that Ontario has billions of dollars in budget surplus and contingency funds, money that could be invested in our public system and used to bring Ontario from last in terms of healthcare spending per person to at least the Canadian average.
According to Dr. Katharine Smart, past president of the Ontario Medical Association, prior experiences with private companies delivering health care in Canada have shown that they "skim off the easiest, most simplistic" areas and fall short of developing an ongoing, meaningful relationship between the patient and doctor.
"It doesn't do anything for patients who have chronic and complex needs; it doesn't do anything for patients who may be having challenges because of social determinants of health," she said. "Those people are left behind, for an under-resourced public system.”
Critics say that the privatization we already have has not resulted in improvements despite costing much more. Research shows that outcomes for privately delivered surgeries are worse and costs are higher. And privatization will worsen staffing shortages and decrease access to care.
If you are concerned about the privatization of our public hospitals’ core services, you might consider the following:
- Sign the ONA letter, "Privatization is not the Solution", found at www.nursestalktruth.ca/mailer It will be sent to your MPP.
- Sign on to the Council of Canadians campaign, here.
- Attend the OHC rally. The Ontario Health Coalition is organizing a public rally at noon, Sept. 25 at Queen’s Park in Toronto. Several northern regions, including Algoma, will hold their events at the same time. The Algoma rally will be outside SAH on Lukenda Drive in SSM.
Ontario Health Coalition,
Sault Ste. Marie representative