Protest last month over plans to contract hospital services to private clinics. Competitions have not been announced, but hospitals are cutting diagnostic and lab jobs, suggesting the government may be trying to achieve the same aim by stealth.
In October a Whitby nursing home experienced a major fire displacing more than 250 residents.
About 80 of those residents found temporary accommodation in area hospitals. Many are still there for lack of available alternative long term care spaces in the community. It’s remarkable the public hospitals were able to accommodate this many residents given the limited availability of beds.
Hospitals are presently in the third year of a base funding freeze. The Ontario government has maintained that the freeze is part of their overall health care transformation plan, but the Whitby experience would suggest that there is increasingly less flexibility due to funding shortfalls across the entire system. In another year or two how many beds will be available under a similar emergency?
The previous Auditor General of Ontario warned in 2011 that restraining annual health care funding increases to a proposed 3.6 per cent would lead to either service cuts or rising deficits. Instead we have seen health care funding increases limited even further to roughly 2 per cent.
In recent weeks a number of hospitals have been meeting with their respective unions to give notice of layoffs in the coming year. This is starting to become an annual holiday season tradition worthy of a Charles Dickens novel.
It is very unlikely that Deb Matthews personally wrote the letter sent to a member of the Quinte Labour Council about local hospital funding. She did sign it, which suggests she may have actually read it. Maybe.
The letter has been circulating recently, serving to raise more ire than balm.
There it was again – the claim that “without change of course, health spending would eat up 70 per cent of the provincial budget within 12 years.”
If you really want to scare people, try suggesting alien spaceships will land in Nathan Phillips Square disembarking a robot army that will change life forever. The two scenarios, the 70 per cent and the robot army are about equally likely. At least in the latter scenario we would be rid of Rob Ford.
Perhaps Matthews should tell her letter-writing minions to cool it on the rhetoric about how health care is about to consume huge portions of the provincial budget if not for their heroic efforts to reform the system. It’s getting old and most sensible people know by now that it is simply not true.
It’s been a hornets’ nest for the past two months.
Quinte Health Care’s plan to shut down its lab at Trenton Memorial Hospital and replace it with “Point of Care Testing” (POCT) has raised the ire of local doctors, politicians and community members in this town of about 20,000 residents.
QHC plans to close Trenton’s lab in late September.
Doctors say the closure of the lab is the beginning of the end for Trenton’s emergency room – leaving the town with a glorified “first-aid post.” The hospital denies this, arguing the Picton and North Hastings sites maintain ERs with only POCT.
With cuts to nursing staff also part of the plan, the doctors question how emergency room nurses will have the time to safely operate POCT equipment.
POCT has remained controversial far beyond the confines of Trenton.
Pop quiz: who wrote this: “Our government expects – as do health care providers – that this change will exacerbate the health conditions of patients with chronic conditions and those who are at risk of developing such conditions. In addition, given preventative care is less costly that emergency or acute care treatment, your policy represents a significant download to provinces and especially Ontario, where the vast majority of refugee claimants reside.” If you guessed Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews, you’d be correct. Matthews’ wrote Federal Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in December over the impact of cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program for refugees. Tomorrow (Wednesday) opponents of the federal cuts will be meeting outside of Deb Matthews’ downtown Toronto office to ask Ontario to have a heart and provide stop-gap coverage for these disenfranchised refugees left without coverage. Demo starts at 11:30 am near Bay and Wellesley Streets in Toronto.
Windsor Regional Hospital is closing its long-standing Acute Injuries Rehabilitation and Evaluation Centre after the facility lost $300,000 last year. Once a revenue-generator for the hospital, the centre provides assessment and treatment services to people injured in automobile accidents or on the job. Revenues came from WSIB and other private insurance providers. The hospital claims two other private centres have meant that this insurance work done by the hospital has “dried up.” Curiously Windsor lawyer Suzanne Dajczak told the CBC that the closure would mean costs would shift to the patients. “When you’re injured, you’re under stress, finances generally are cut – in the cases that I see, substantially. They usually come when they’re denied and, yes, they’re going to struggle, and it’s going to be more difficult for injured workers” (Emphasis added). Is Ms. Dajczak suggesting that these private clinics may be less supportive of injured worker claims than the public hospital?
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Tagged Andrea Horwath, Cindy Forster, Deb Matthews, Interim Federal Health program, Jason Kenney, Jim Bradley, Kensington Eye Clinic, Kensington Screening Clinic, Kevin Smith, Liberal Leadership, Niagara Health System, Ontario Health Minister, Quinte Health Care, Sandra Pupatello, Suzanne Dajczak, Tim Hudak, Windsor Regional Hospital
You have to wonder about the Ontario Hospital Association and its publicly stated views of the Drummond Commission report.
Upon the release of the report, the OHA publicly welcomed it despite what the Dean of Queen’s University’s Faculty of Medicine refers to as the report’s “anti-hospital sentiment.”
“Overall, the OHA and its member hospitals welcome the perspective that Mr. Drummond brings to the broader public sector and intend to review the report and its recommendations carefully,” the OHA stated in a February 15 release.
That was the last OHA release, on Drummond or anything else.