Skip to main content

Ontario municipalities press government on bed shortages as Liberal MPP takes the heat

The Cornwall Standard Freeholder reports that the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) has established at its annual conference a committee with representatives of municipalities from all over Ontario to deal with the shortage of beds for long-term health care patients and lobby the provincial government for help.  (This sounds connected to some work by municipalities at the AMO conference reported earlier.)

Cornwall mayor Bob Kilger said the AMO is putting a document together to incorporate feedback from municipalities all across the province with similar problems. Then the committee will meet with stakeholders, such as hospital officials and government representatives. Councillor Sid Gardiner added the committee should make  progress as it puts pressure on the provincial government with the weight of 90% of Ontario municipalities.

Meanwhile the cuts continue.  After the closure of the adult diabetes clinic at the Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) earlier this year, now we get word that the monthly children's diabetes clinic run by the Peterborough Regional Health Centre at the NHH  is being closed.  Patients will have to travel to Peterborough now (if they can). 

When asked about the specialized clinic's loss from the local hospital, the NHH CEO replied that the "NHH has not been informed of any changes to this clinic."

The government's master plan for 'integration' and 'seemless care' might need a little more fine tuning. Especially as the government makes a big deal of bragging about the virtues of its 'Ontario Diabetes Strategy'.   (If this is how they deal with priorities...)

So it's not so surprising that not everyone is pleased with the government's health care performance in Northumberland.  Here's a blistering letter from one person concerning the performance of local Liberal MPP Lou Rinaldi:

Mr. Rinaldi, the LHINs and Ontario's Ombudsman
Northumberland Today; Thu Aug 19 2010; Page: 4; Letter to the Editor

At all costs, the premier and the Liberal party want to hold the riding of Northumberland- Quinte West. Their problem is that they have done major damage to the Northumberland Hills Hospital through the overbearing and secretive operation of a Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) which they created.

The government sees no way of finding the money to rescue our essential services, but they do think it possible to rescue Mr. Lou Rinaldi. So it is that we have a feel-good announcement concerning emergency services at the hospital. It is an attempt to buy back on the cheap the affections of an otherwise outraged electorate.

The Ombudsman of Ontario has just released a report on the behaviour of LHINs in the Niagara region, describing secret meetings dubbed "education sessions" for its members as "illegal" and suggesting that the same practice is found in all other LHINs. There can be no doubt that the LHIN in our region has failed utterly in its duty to be transparent and responsive to the community.

The LHINs exist to give political cover to a government that will not properly fund our health care. The Ombudsman observes: "Unfortunately, while it is true that as a result of the LHIN model, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has been able to distance itself from difficult decisions surrounding the integration and funding of regional health services, the reality of community decision making has fallen far short of the political spin."

An expert at political spin, Mr. Rinaldi has remained somewhere above or below the fray as many of his constituents have sought to preserve their hospital. It is time for him to admit that the system of LHINs is a pernicious failure. If the premier will not hear his protest, he should leave the caucus. If he is unwilling to make such a protest, he should leave politics altogether.

Richard Greene Cobourg

Now this should help up the pressure to maintain local services.  Two thumbs up for Mr. Greene!


Popular posts from this blog

Ontario long-term care staffing falls far short of other provinces

CUPE and others are campaigning for a legislated minimum average of four worked hours of nursing and personal care per resident per day in long-term care (LTC) facilities.  New research indicates that not only is LTC underfunded in Ontario, it is also understaffed compared to the other provinces. 
LTC staffing falls short:  The latest data published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (and based on a mandatory survey undertaken by Statistics Canada) indicates that staffing at long-term care (LTC) facilities falls far short of other provinces. 
Part of this is driven by a low level of provincial funding for LTC.

Ontario has 0.575 health care full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) per bed staffed and in operation.[1]  The rest of Canada reports 0.665 health care FTEs.[2] The rest of Canada has 15.7% more health care staff per bed staffed and in operation than Ontario.[3] 

No other province reports fewer LTC health care staff per resident (or per bed) than Ontario.[4]

Occupancy r…

More spending on new hospitals and new beds? Nope

Hospital funding:  There is something off about the provincial government's Budget claims on hospital capital funding (funding to build and renovate hospital beds and facilities).   

For what it is worth (which is not that much, given the long time frame the government cites), the province claims it will increase hospital capital spending over the next 10 years from $11 billion to $20 billion – or on average to about $2 billion per year.  But, this is just a notional increase from the previous announcement of future hospital capital spending. 

Moreover, even if we did take this as a serious promise and not just a wisp of smoke, the government's own reports shows they have actually funded hospital infrastructure about $3 billion a year over the 2011/12-2015/16 period.

So this “increase” is really a decrease from past actual spending. Even last year's (2016-17) hospital capital funding increase was reported in this Budget at $2.3 billion - i.e. about 15% more than they have ann…

Health care funding falls, again

Real provincial government health care funding per-person has fallen again this year in Ontario, the third year in a row.  Since 2009 real funding per-person has fallen 2.6% -- $63 per person. 

Across Canada real per person funding is in its fourth consecutive year of increase. Since 2009, real provincial funding across Canada is up $89 -- 3.6%.
In fact the funding gap between Ontario and Canada as a whole has gown consistently for years (as set out below in current dollars).

Ontario funds health care less than any other province -- indeed, the province that funds health care the second least (B.C.) provides $185 more per person per year, 4.7% more.  
Provincial health care spending in the rest of Canada (excluding Ontario) is now  $574 higher per person annually than in Ontario. 

 Ontario has not always provided lower than average health care funding increases-- but that has been the general pattern since 2005.
Private expenditures on health care have exceeded Ontario government increases …