Ontario Throne Speech Was Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Opportunity to Chart Improved Course for Health Care

Will She Succeed? Urgent Issues Still Need To Be Addressed

“The Wynne government must stop the planned closure of hospitals in Niagara.” – Ontario Health Coalition

An Analysis of the Throne Speech by the Ontario Health Coalition, a citizens advocacy group for public health care

Posted September 13, 2016 on Niagara At Large

Toronto, Ontario With this September 12th’s Ontario Throne Speech, the Liberal government of Premier Kathleen Wynne is trying for a fresh start.

Ontario Health Coalition's executive director Natalie Mehra

Ontario Health Coalition’s executive director Natalie Mehra

If this is to succeed, some long-simmering health care issues must be addressed to realign her government’s health policies with the values and priorities of Ontarians. “More than eight years of austerity budgets in Ontario’s public community hospitals has left a trail of service cuts, longer travel distances for patients and dangerous overcrowding, ” said Natalie Mehra, Executive Director of the Ontario Health Coalition.

“As a priority, there must be a full moratorium of cuts, and a plan developed to rebuild capacity to meet Ontario’s communities’ needs — that means both a fiscal plan that prioritizes people over Bay Street and financial interests, and a hospital capacity plan that moves money to care and restores services in Ontarians’ home communities.

” Though Ontarians are angry about hospital service cuts, and problems accessing care, on one hand, and exorbitant executive salaries at the very top ranks of public health care institutions, on the other, it is important also to note that we have seen some significant progress in some areas.

Health Minister Eric Hoskins has taken on some courageous fights, has re-opened the doors of the Minister’s office, has led in the campaign to achieve a public drug plan for all Canadians, has stopped private clinics, has strongly supported public health care in national and international forums, has begun to reform hospital transparency, and has started to move slightly on the hospital cuts.

But there are urgent issues remaining, on which Ontarians need to see this government shift course. Key Issues:

Hospital cuts. Rallies have been held all over Ontarioin recent years to stop hospital cuts

Hospital cuts. Rallies have been held all over Ontarioin recent years to stop hospital cuts

  • Devastating cuts to hospitals across Ontario must stop — Last spring, the Ontario Health Coalition held a voluntary “referendum” and almost 100,000 people voted to stop the hospital cuts in their towns. In recent months, Health Minister Eric Hoskins has intervened to halt planned cuts in Midland, Wallaceburg, Quinte West and other communities. The Minister’s interventions to save vital community hospital services are helpful and most welcome. But, another round of devastating hospital cuts will be coming if the government does not adopt a funding plan to meet population need for care.
  • Ontario has had eight consecutive years of hospital funding that has failed to meet the rate of inflation let alone population growth and aging pressures.
  • Our province has plummeted to the bottom of the country in the number of hospital beds left in communities, the number of nurses per patient, and has extraordinary rates of hospital overcrowding.
  • The Wynne government must stop the planned closure of hospitals in Niagara, and restore services that have been cut from Ottawa to North Bay, Orillia to Sault Ste. Marie. There must be a moratorium on hospital cuts and a  proper plan developed to meet hospital bed and service capacity needs for our province’s population.

    Hospital in Niagara community of Welland has been on chopping block for years. Citizens say its loss would be one more large blow for hospital care in Niagara's southern tier.

    Hospital in Niagara community of Welland has been on chopping block for years. Citizens say its loss would be one more large blow for hospital care in Niagara’s southern tier.

  • Home care reform is crucial to improve access to care and build a public, non-profit home care system — With the proroguing of the Legislature, the home care reform legislation that was introduced last spring has died. It will be re-introduced this fall, possibly with amendments. Any home care reform needs to actually improve access to care for patients. It must stop the privatization of home care and build a stable and effective home care system.
  • Improved access to and care levels in long-term care –
  • As hospital beds continue to be cut, patients are offloaded quicker and sicker. Yet there is no plan to provide enough access to publicly subsidized long-term care to meet population need.
  • Not only are wait times too long but when people get into long-term care homes they find that care levels are insufficient to meet basic human and health care needs.
  •  Ontario needs a plan to meet population need for long-term care and to improve care levels so that each resident gets an average minimum of four hours of hands-on nursing and personal support per day — a level of care that is found by evidence to reduce harm, improve safety and improve health outcomes.

The Ontario Health Coalition -Who We Are –

The Ontario Health Coalition is comprised of a Board of Directors, committees of the Board as approved in the Coalition’s annual Action Plan, Local Coalitions, member organizations and individual members. Currently the Ontario Health Coalition represents more than 400 member organizations and a network of Local Health Coalitions and individual members. Our members include: seniors’ groups; patients’ organizations; unions; nurses and health professionals’ organizations; physicians and physician organizations that support the public health system; non-profit community agencies; student groups; ethnic and cultural organizations; residents’ and family councils; retirees; poverty and equality-seeking groups; women’s organizations, and others.

For more information on the Ontario Health Coalition and its citizens advocacy work click onhttp://www.ontariohealthcoalition.ca/ .

Ontario Health Coalition 15 Gervais Drive, Suite 604 Toronto, ON M3C 1Y8 ohc@sympatico.ca

www.ontariohealthcoalition.ca 416-441-2502

Visit Niagara At Large at www.niagaraatlarge.com for more news and commentary for and from the greater bi-national Niagara region.

NOW IT IS YOUR TURN. Niagara At Large encourages you to share your views on this post in the space below the Bernie quote . A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who share their first and last name with them.

 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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One response to “Ontario Throne Speech Was Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Opportunity to Chart Improved Course for Health Care

  1. The two CORPORATE PARTIES are forever stating they need a “MAJORITY” to function as a government whereas what they truly mean is
    (to rule with an iron fist in a dictatorial fashion) as what happened under Harris, Harper, and Mulroney Regimes all of which literally sold Canada to the international bidders… Free Trade sold Canada’s sovereignty to each and every Corporate state with whom these so called Prime Ministers signed a contract and they are still doing so……

    Like

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