The Durham Health Coalition is hosting a vote on a province wide referendum to stop hospital cuts. Joe Scarpelli has the details.
Donna Osborne lost her husband two years ago.
“The care that was supposed to be there was not there and it left me in a really bad way.”
Donna’s husband suffered from dementia. She says he ended up in jail at one point. He went so far as to attempt suicide.
“It was a really horrendous time and everything that was supposed to be there was like smoke in mirrors. Every time I went to get a service they would refer me to someone else because nobody really had the funding.”
These are the kinds of stories the Ontario Health Coalition has been hearing.
“Currently Ontario is at the bottom of the pile in terms of appropriate health care funding. We’re at an average of about $500 per patient in under funding.”
Trish represents Durham Region on the Ontario Health Coalition. Volunteers from 80 regions will be in various locations around the province on Saturday where the public can vote whether or not they agree with cuts to community hospitals. Durham residents can vote at the three Oshawa locations: 25 John Street, 411 Gibb Street West and 500 King Street West. They’re expecting to have 100,000 cast ballots which they will hand deliver to Queens Park next week.
“We know that as a Ontario Health Coalition that we’ve done the research, we have the facts, we have a figures, we are prepared to meet with the health minister to discuss the facts and the findings.”
The office of the Minister of Health did not respond by our deadline to our request for comment.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health responded with the following statement:
Health care has always been a priority for our government. We recognize that we must continue to invest in a health care system that puts patients first and so that’s exactly what we’re doing. As part of our 2016 budget, we are increasing health-care funding by $1-billion. That’s a 2.1% increase this year – greater than the rate of inflation. This new investment means $345 million more for hospitals, an additional $250 million for home and community care, another $130 million for cancer care services and more. We’re also committing $12 billion over the next 10 years to expand and rebuild hospitals across the province. While we continue to invest in hospitals, we must recognize that we’re moving towards a system where more services are delivered at home and in the community. By re-evaluating the way we have traditionally provided care, we’ve been able to reduce costs while improving patient outcomes.
Both the Fraser Institute and Wait Time Alliance have consistently ranked Ontario as having some of the shortest wait times in Canada – a direct result of the investments we’ve made. And through changes we’ve made, hospitals and community providers are now funded based on how many patients they look after, the services they deliver, and the specific needs of the population they serve. As a result, the system encourages hospitals to become more efficient and rewards better outcomes. Health care is not just about hospitals – it’s about the front-line staff that provide care. That’s why our government continues to increase the number of nurses working in Ontario. Since coming into office, more than 26,000 nurses – including 11,000 Registered Nurses – have begun work in Ontario. This is a growth rate of 23.7 per cent – almost double the increase of Ontario’s population during the same period. And, as the independent College of Nurses of Ontario clearly states, there were almost 3,000 net-new nursing positions in Ontario last year. This is the eleventh consecutive year of growth – a fact the Ontario Health Coalition doesn’t acknowledge. We should all be proud of the historic investments in health care we’re making across the province. We are committed to continuing to work with our partners across the sector to improve access and quality of care for all. Together, we’re building a better health-care system that will meet the needs of Ontario families for generations to come.