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Health care cutbacks across Ontario

Sudbury hospital officials expect the shortage of hospital beds in the city will force 4 surgeries a day to be cancelled.  Thirty have been cancelled this month.

Dr. David Boyle, the hospital's medical director of surgical services told the CBC he's frustrated because his department has toiled away at reducing surgical wait lists. “We've worked hard over the last two years to improve all of our wait lists. We still have quite a lot of stressors on our wait list compared to the other parts of the province."   Boyle said the problem lies in the absence of a home care strategy for seniors.

Earlier this year, the hospital (Health Sciences North) was forced to cut 30 beds. The government is expected to require the hospital to cut another 30 beds next March.  

Meanwhile, Betty Kutcha, CEO, of the Erie-St. Clair Community Care Access Centre told the Chatham Daily News, that personal support home care is becoming more limited as the agency is required to direct its resources to those clients with the highest needs.

As well, the Ottawa Citizen reports six short-term rehabilitation beds for patients needing post-surgical therapy have been closed at the Ottawa Hospital.  The hospital claims the beds were not fully used.  It expects to give notice to employees of looming job cuts next week.

The hospital had already announced the elimination of 96 other jobs to help it deal with it's $23 million budget shortfall.  


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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.
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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]

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More spending on new hospitals and new beds? Nope

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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…