Skip to main content

LHIN failures make cutbacks more difficult -- but beware the future, Ontario

Health care slashers and right-wingers are beginning to understand the pickle they are in over the falling faith in the the LHINs, the Liberal government's instrument of choice to cut health care services.  Here's the conclusion of today's Ottawa Citizen editorial:

With an aging population and rising health-care budgets,it is difficult to imagine a year in which every health network in the province doesn't face some very tough decisions involving a region's crucial health-care services. Without public trust, those decisions will be much harder, if not impossible. Which is why Marin's (the Ombudsman) findings are crucial.

Indeed, LHIN imposed cuts will be harder now that the LHINs have been discredited.  (What a pity!)  But this won't stop those cuts.

And here's another troubling thought.  If the LHINs are becoming blunt instruments,  another instrument may be introduced to make the cuts down the road. 

In other provinces the trend has been for governments to make health care decision-making even more remote from local communities and even less politically accountable.  (Alberta, for example, recently removed its regional health boards and established a single province-wide [and politically remote] health care board.)

And such a change, I fear, is quite a possible outcome of further "reform" of health care decision-making in Ontario.

That's not to say we should ease up on the Liberals, or the LHINs, as they cut hospital services.  Just that, given the balance of forces, our struggle for universal, comprehensive and accessible public health care is not going to be subject to easy victories, now or into the foreseeable future.  In the interim, we are just going to have to keep chipping away, and point out the problems on the horizon as loudly and as clearly as we can.


dallan@cupe.ca

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Public sector employment in Ontario is far below the rest of Canada

The suggestion that Ontario has a deficit because its public sector is too large does not bear scrutiny. Consider the following. 

Public sector employment has fallen in the last three quarters in Ontario.  Since 2011, public sector employment has been pretty flat, with employment up less than 4 tenths of one percent in the first half of 2015 compared with the first half of 2011.


This contrasts with public sector employment outside of Ontario which has gone up pretty consistently and is now 4.7% higher than it was in the first half of 2011.



Private sector employment has also gone up consistently over that period. In Ontario, it has increased 4.3% since the first half of 2011, while in Canada as a whole it has increased 4.9%.







As a result, public sector employment in Ontario is now shrinking as a percentage of the private sector workforce.  In contrast, in the rest of Canada, it is increasing. Moreover, public sector employment is muchhigher in the rest of Canada than in Ontario.  Indeed as…

The long series of failures of private clinics in Ontario

For many years, OCHU/CUPE has been concerned the Ontario government would transfer public hospital surgeries, procedures and diagnostic tests to private clinics. CUPE began campaigning in earnest against this possibility in the spring of 2007 with a tour of the province by former British Health Secretary, Frank Dobson, who talked about the disastrous British experience with private surgical clinics.

The door opened years ago with the introduction of fee-for-service hospital funding (sometimes called Quality Based Funding). Then in the fall of 2013 the government announced regulatory changes to facilitate this privatization. The government announced Request for Proposals for the summer of 2014 to expand the role of "Independent Health Facilities" (IHFs). 

With mass campaigns to stop the private clinic expansion by the Ontario Health Coalition the process slowed.  

But it seems the provincial Liberal government continues to push the idea.  Following a recent second OCHU tour wi…

Hospital worker sick leave: too much or too little?

Ontario hospital workers are muchless absent due to illness or disability than hospital workers Canada-wide.  In 2014, Ontario hospital workers were absent 10.2 days due to illness or disability, 2.9 days less than the Canada wide average – i.e. 22% less.  In fact, Ontario hospital workers have had consistently fewer sick days for years.

This is also true if absences due to family or personal responsibilities are included.
Statistics Canada data for the last fifteen years for Canada and Ontario are reported in the chart below, showing Ontario hospital workers are consistently off work less.
Assuming, Ontario accounts for about 38% of the Canada-wide hospital workforce, these figures suggest that the days lost due to illness of injury in Canada excluding Ontario are about 13.6 days per year ([13.6 x 0.68] + [10.2 x 0.38] = 13.1).

In other words, hospital workers in the rest of Canada are absent from work due to illness or disability 1/3 more than Ontario hospital workers. 

In fact, Canad…