Ontario’s healthcare is at its tipping point
The future of Ontario’s healthcare is close to flat lining, that’s not a good thing; consider the symptoms that are leading us there.
Hospital funding has been frozen for years. There has been no increase in funding from the Ontario government to the hospitals that is needed to meet increasing budget demands. In fact hospitals have had to face, retroactively, a change in their funding formula that will decrease what they receive annually.
Wages continue to rise as contracts expire and have to be renegotiated. Hospitals are at a disadvantage due to 0% increases in funding, the negotiations start and stop at 0% as there is nothing else hospitals can offer. Hospitals don’t want to offer a zero increase, but Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne have not given our hospitals a choice. Arbitration rulings go against the hospital putting it in a difficult position. Our hard working nurses and frontline health workers deserve better treatment than what is being thrust upon them due to the lack of proper funding.
Hospitals are forced to close beds. Beds with patients in them cost money; there is no new money to keep those beds open with patients being cared for.
Doctors will see their pay cut to ensure the government meets it budget for fees paid out in this fiscal year. This could lead to either a reduction of access to doctors, reduced hours at clinics, early retirements or doctors leaving Ontario. Anyone want to wager a bet on what will happen first?
Nurses are being laid off, and those that retire are not being replaced. They’re not needed as beds, floors and hospital wings are being closed.
The latest symptom came with the release of the Auditor General’s report on Ontario’s Community Care Access Centres (CCAC). While hospitals fight to meet budget, almost 40% of funds directed to the CCAC’s goes to the administration and salaries of the organizations. It’s a far cry from the 91% the CCAC’s have claimed to be directed to patient care. CCAC’s are also struggling to meet targets for rapid response efficiency, they are only able to have less than half of the rapid care requests they receive get the immediate care they require within a targeted 24 hour period.
In the 2014 election, the Ontario PC Party campaigned on reforming how health care services were delivered locally. While the Liberals sent fears of job cuts under a PC government far and wide, Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberals have forced cuts in frontline care with misdirected spending, waste and imposed funding freezes to hospitals.
The symptoms are not isolated to anyone area in the province, it’s happening across the province, from Ottawa to Orillia, North Bay to Newmarket and from London to Leamington.
There is a need to redefine how and where healthcare is delivered in Ontario, how we receive the care we need and want. Our increased desire for care at home is not being met in the current system of Community Care Access Centres in Ontario. Delivery methods and needs will always be different from community to community, to expect that care in Toronto can be delivered in the same manner, as Thunder Bay is unrealistic.
The tipping point is here, action must be taken to address the lack of a proper funding formula for hospitals and care providers to meet evolved methods of care whether is it in a hospital, hospice or in our homes.
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