Now that the Ontario general election is over, the province’s physicians say the re-elected Progressive Conservative party needs to move quickly to address the problems plaguing the health-care system.
“We need to work together to clear the pandemic backlog and tackle issues such as wait times to improve patient care for everyone in the long term,” Allan O’Dette, the CEO of Ontario Medical Association said in a press release. “Our health-care system and our economy depend on getting this right. Let’s get started now. The problems are urgent and doctors have solutions.”
Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives won a large majority in the Ontario general election on June 2, with 83 seats. Voters made their decisions depending on the promises made by the party.
Tsun Him Lau, a student studying mental-health studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough, said health care is a constant concern of the people of the world (This reporter is a student in the UTSC/Centennial College joint journalism program, which publishes the Toronto Observer).
He recognized the problems of the health care system in Canada during his academic research at university, and has experienced a long wait time of up to five hours at the emergency department in Scarborough.
Lau said many people’s mental health gotten worse, he thinks this may be due to the fact that after the pandemic, many people are facing more stress and delays in accessing care.
“It take a huge investment of money, labour and time to address the backlog in the health-care system due to COVID-19.” Lau said in a phone interview.
Details of the PCs’ plan
According to the PC party’s budget, here are the plans by investing in hospitals, long-term care homes and home care, and Ontario’s health-care workforce.
- More than $40 billion in capital over 10 years for hospitals and other health infrastructure, includes supporting more than 50 major projects to add 3,000 new beds.
- $764 million over two years to provide nurses with up to $5,000 retention bonus.
- $42.5 million over two years to support expansion of undergraduate and postgraduate medical education and training
- Investing $1 billion in home care over three years.
- Creating a Surgical Recovery Strategy to increase scheduled surgeries, procedures and diagnostic imaging.
- Providing budget for additional funding in 2022-23, including to support acute, post-acute and critical care beds, surgical and diagnostic imaging recovery and human resources.
- Pledging additional funding over three years, including to address demand and priority services (such as cardiac care, cataract procedures, knee and hip replacements and critical care services) and expand facilities.
For-profit care should end: critics
Three of Ontario’s four major political parties, who pledge to remove for-profit care from the system, private corporations should not be in the business of elder care. But the Progressive Conservatives have rejected calls to phase out for-profit operators, according to CBC report.
The Ontario Liberal party criticized Doug Ford’s health-care privatization, and said for four long years, Ford allowed greed-driven, profiteering interests to chip away at our public health-care system, opening the door for more private hospitals and pay-for-play treatments.
The Council of Canadians indicated that under the leadership of Doug Ford, the province has used the pandemic as an opportunity to cut and privatize health care. It also widens the gap in health equity, as patients who can pay out of pocket are able to get faster service.
Strong health-care system = healthy economy: OMA
The Ontario Medical Association congratulated Ford and the PCs for their election victory, and encouraged the re-elected government to implement the Prescription for Ontario: Doctors’ 5-Point Plan for Better Health Care in its entirety during its four-year mandate, according to an OMA press release.
The OMA is proposing the creation of Integrated Ambulatory Centres, a new model of care that would shift many non-emergency, less complex surgeries to outpatient centres. IACs would free up hospital beds and operating rooms, allowing them to focus on more complex, acute and emergency patients and procedures, and reduce wait times.
“Ontarians are sending a clear message that we have to have a strong health-care system if we want to have a healthy economy, and Ontario doctors agree” Dr. Adam Kassam, President of OMA said in the release.
Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of Ontario Chamber of Commerce, said the pandemic has made it abundantly clear that we cannot have a strong economy without a resilient health-care system, released in an open letter.
The National Post showed supplying a health-care workforce to restore medical backlogs is an important part of economic recovery, and a healthy economy requires a strong health-care workforce.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford told a news conference on June 3, he will spend the next four years working for all Ontarians.
“We are going to take our time, sit down with our team,” Ford said. “We have a big agenda to fulfill and keep our promises and we are going to make sure we keep every single promise.”