Ontario Looks to the Private Sector to Help its Hospitals

Ontario Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Sylvia Jones made the announcement Thursday as she released an update to her Plan to stay open, the first version of which was unveiled in March 2022.

The plan also includes adding 6,000 health care workers to the province’s system by temporarily waiving exam and certification fees for internationally trained and retired nurses.

Sylvia Jones said she is expecting a plan this Thursday from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, as well as the College of Nurses of Ontario, on how they intend to expedite the applications of these professionals who are still waiting to be certified and licensed in Ontario.

Many elements are part of this plan and are not yet complete. »

A quote from Sylvia Jones, Ontario Minister of Health

The province also wants to give paramedics the ability to treat patients so they get better and more appropriate care away from the emergency department. She also hopes to create 2,500 hospital beds to significantly reduce the current shortage in hospitals.

Last week, Jones and Premier Doug Ford said the province was exploring all options to improve the health care system, and were not ruling out greater private sector involvement, though they said Ontarians would not have to pay out of pocket.

Emergency departments in some Ontario hospitals closed for hours and even days this summer due to a severe shortage of nurses.

Strong criticism from nurses

This is a blatant move that will line the pockets of investors, nothing morecriticized the president of the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA), Cathryn Hoy.

Cathryn Hoy is president of the Ontario Nurses Association.

Photo: Radio Canada

The evidence is clear: privatizing health care delivers worse outcomes for our patients and results in much higher overhead costs that will be paid for by taxpayers.

Ontario is sinking into privatization that will only benefit shareholders. »

A quote from Cathryn Hoy, President of the Ontario Nurses Association

Ms Hoy described as confusing the fact that the plan also includes measures to support emergency department doctors, but not nurses. The government missed a golden opportunity to boost pay for nurses as a key part of retention and recruitment to limit further closures.

Solutions innovativedepending on the province

Minister Jones said at a press conference that Ontario must show audacity, innovation and creativity in its research to improve its health system.

There are those who will fight for the status quo, no matter whatdid she say. They are ideologically opposed to change or improvements. We will not accept this. We cannot accept it. People want better health care.

The latter, however, did not respond directly to a question about whether it would consider allowing more private clinics in Ontario.

Health Minister Silvia Jones answers questions from reporters at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.

Health Minister Silvia Jones answers questions from reporters at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.

Photo: Radio Canada

Health care will continue to be provided to the people of Ontario through their health card. »

A quote from Sylvia Jones, Ontario Minister of Health

We see the value in some of these independent health facilities that have existed in the province of Ontario for decades to ease the pressure on our partners in health care and many of these independent health facilities have agreements and work directly with their local community hospital.

Transfers temporary in long-term care

On long-term care, the government plans to introduce legislation today that will allow patients waiting for a bed to be transferred to a home temporary waiting for a place in their favorite home. In addition, 300 beds that had been used to isolate patients with COVID-19 will be made available to people on waiting lists.

NDP health critic France Gélinas says the province would be better off bolstering the home care system with more full-time personal support workers. Giving people a choice of where they want to be is respecting themshe told reporters after Ms Jones’ announcement.

The opposition MP also argues that the first available beds would likely be in a private for-profit homesome of which were the subject of a scathing military report in 2020 after suffering some of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the province.

Nickel Belt MLA France Gélinas of the New Democratic Party of Ontario.

Nickel Belt MLA France Gélinas of the Ontario New Democratic Party

Photo: Radio Canada

Now hospitals will have the right to put a ton of pressure on you and your family to move you to the first available bed, not the bed of your choice… That’s disrespectful, that’s not how health care health should work. »

A quote from France Gélinas, NDP Health Critic

According to Long-Term Care Minister Paul Calandra, the legislation would not force anyone to leave hospital against their will, but would keep the conversation going.

With information from The Canadian Press

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