Scarborough’s health-care system is ‘sick’, residents tell forum

Scarborough residents like Kim Wen say they’re sick of the lack of quality service available at the city’s hospitals.

When her diabetic sister fell ill, Wen says there were no doctors available and the nurses were unhelpful during her sister’s stay at The Scarborough Hospital.

“I waited five hours,” Wen said. “They [took] my sister to the room and what I heard from the nurse was ‘go to room No. 5 and change the blanket,’ that’s all. I had to do everything by myself.”

She spoke last week at a town hall meeting for Scarborough residents and Scarborough Hospital physicians. Members of the community were given the opportunity to voice their concerns over the quality of treatment their families received during recent visits to both of the hospital’s locations: the General Campus on Lawrence Avenue East and the Birchmount Campus on Birchmount Road.

There’s a huge systemic problem in all hospitals in Ontario

— Dr. John Wright

Wen was not alone in her displeasure. Others came forward with similar stories, which they said were the result of too little staff stretched too thinly.

“There’s a huge systemic problem in all hospitals in Ontario,” hospital president and CEO Dr. John Wright said of long wait times.

The hospital’s pediatric department and wait times listed high among the community’s concerns.

An alarming fact that was brought to light by Dr. Peter Azzopardi, a physician at the Scarborough Hospital, concerned the number of in-office pediatricians available in the region.

“In Scarborough, I’m really sad to say, there’s a shortage of basic pediatrics. We have a total of I think no more than 10 pediatricians in offices in Scarborough,” Azzopardi said.

That’s a concerning number when, according to Azzopardi, the population of Scarborough is approximately 860,000 people, with a growing number of births.

Azzopardi also said there are only 12 pediatricians on call at the Scarborough Hospital covering both locations, far too few to provide quality care.

The meeting ended on a high note however with attention brought to the new MRI scanner Scarborough Hospital staff managed to have brought in.

“Your wait times for a MRI used to be the longest in the province. Now they are down to just over two weeks, some of the shortest wait times for some procedures,” Wright said. “Finally you’re getting the kind of diagnostic procedures that you really deserve.”

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The Scarborough Hospital includes two campuses – the General campus and the Birchmount campus – and six community satellite sites. View The Scarborough Hospital on a larger map.