FRANCE GELINAS, MPP
Northern wait times for long-term care unacceptable: NDP
QUEEN’S PARK – NDP Health and Long-Term Care Critic France Gélinas says yesterday’s release of the Auditor General’s report raises concerns about access to long-term care in Ontario’s North, and the use of health care dollars around the province.
“Any time residents of one area of the province are waiting up to three times longer for appropriate care than other areas, we as Ontarians should be worried,” said Gélinas. “Inequitable access to care means many Northerners are falling through the cracks. Their needs are only being addressed when their condition worsens to a crisis.”
According to the report, wait times across the province have tripled since 2005.
Non-crisis applicants in the North West often wait three years or more for placement, and the Auditor General is concerned that wait times could double that moving forwards.
Applicants with specific language, ethnic, or religious requirements could face wait times of over 10 years.
Auditor General Jim McCarter points out a number of issues and possible remedies for the current problems with the long-term care system in Ontario.
Amongst his recommendations is the suggestion that long-term care homes and CCACs publicly disclose more information about wait times and accommodations.
“Ontarians need better access to information about long-term care facilities in their communities, so that they can make more informed decisions about their care and future,” said Gélinas. “Being able to easily identify where you are most likely to find appropriate care will allow Ontarians to better plan for the future.”
Another issue McCarter highlights is the fact that many Ontarians waiting for placement in a long-term care home are still being forced to wait in hospital.
This is more costly, and ties up valuable hospital space.
“When people are forced to wait in hospital beds for months, or even years, because of a lack of appropriate care, we know that more work needs to be done,” said Gélinas. “Dalton McGuinty needs to recall the legislature so MPPs can get to work at finding real solutions to these problems.”