Skip to main content

Hospital clinic cuts service: a sign of things to come?

The Leamington and District Memorial Hospital ended 7 day a week service at its Pelee Island clinic on July 1.  Also gone is its 24 hour a day on-call service.

The mayor of Pelee Island told  the Windsor Star it's "only a matter of time" before someone dies because of recent cuts to urgent health care in the community.  People on Pelee Island, whether they are residents or visitors, have the right to the same health care services as everyone else in Ontario." 

As of July 1, the Pelee Island clinic - now a nursing station - operates only eight hours per day, five days a week, providing primary care, urgent care and home care. It's closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Those hours will remain in effect as part of a 60-day trial period.  To make matters worse, the clinic may be open only one day a week in the off-season, from December until April. 

The decision to reduce health care services on the island was made in May  and based on the community's small population, Masse told the Star.  "But the people who made those decisions don't live here and they're making decisions based on things they have no clue about," he said.

There have been 11 emergencies on Pelee Island since July 1.

As elsewhere, hospital cuts have driven up the need for (municipally run) Emergency Medical Services.  EMS Chief Randy Mellow said that to meet the new demands,  the municipal EMS budget for the island would have to almost double from $150,000 in 2011 to $290,000.

A meeting between the Pelee Island mayor, county council, and the Ontario Health Minister is scheduled for the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference in August. County Council is also seeking a more immediate meeting with the Minister.

A sign o' things to come?
While the hospital funding squeeze forced significant cuts in 2010, fewer high profile cuts have occurred this year -- presumably connected to the upcoming provincial election.  

Given the health funding plans of the biggest parties, I expect much more of this after the election.  

 (Unless we organize.)

Leftwords will now go quiet for a summer break for a couple of weeks.  Have a great summer! (And see you at the OHC rally for health care September 13th at Queen's Park!)


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 …