It is becoming obvious to most Ontario citizens that conservative political philosophy is not good for hospitals. And premier Doug Ford and his conservatives have doubled down. Ford and his health minister Christine Elliott have crushed the system from the day they took over from the defeated Wynne liberals. They cut back the system to the point that the Ontario hospitals cannot deliver the service that we so desperately need.
And do not just blame the pandemic. They were cutting back from day one. They cut back on the Ontario Autism program and had parents shouting at them. They cut back on recipients of the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). Nobody speaks for them and they just went hungry. And then the Ford administration decided to cut back on the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs).
The original concept of having LHINs was that bigger is not better. The system needed people in the field who would work for the patients, co-ordinating seamless access to the wide variety of services needed. Ford and Elliott did not improve the system. They went backward. They reduced the number of LHINs. They made the LHINs bigger and more bureaucratic. The people working in the LHINs no longer fought for the patients; they fought to keep their jobs. The LHINs lost interest in solving the patients’ problems; they were trying to solve their own.
The pandemic showed us all the weaknesses of our Ontario hospital system. We were already stretched to the limits before the pandemic. We had hospitals with empty wards because of the lack of adequate staffing. We lost medical staff to other provinces and to the U.S. because of the skimping on the number of jobs and on salaries.
To pass a law limiting what one group can earn is denying them the right to collective bargaining. To fail to negotiate with a particular health service, such as optometrists, is sticking your head in the sand.
Any professional soldier can tell the Ford government what to do in these pandemic circumstances: you capitulate.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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