The other day prime minister Trudeau said at a Toronto event that the federal government was not the boss of the provinces. This is despite the very healthy amounts that the federal government has promised to help Ontario to repair the damage done by the pandemic and by the Ontario government to healthcare in the province. Despite the increased help to the province, the prime minister said he only cared if 50 per cent of the funds were spent on healthcare, provided that health care records could be electronically and rapidly exchanged between provinces.
But the Ford government in Ontario was already starving our hospitals before we were hit with COVID-19. They were cutting back on the local hospital networks. They were reducing support staff. They passed a provincial law limiting nurses raises and drove thousands of nurses out of their profession.
A surgical nurse I met recently explained to me that she can fly down to a major hospital in the United States and in four days work be paid more than she would be paid in a month in Ontario.
My local hospital here in central Ontario has had its once excellent reputation shredded by the conservatives. The lack of staff in the hospital is alarming. The once healthy food for patients is long gone.
This was a hospital that once had a waiting list of people who wanted to volunteer as the errand runners, visitor helpers and wheelchair pushers. No more. Under the pandemic, volunteers were told not to come. A friend who had relished his role in helping, came home from his first shift, under the relaxed pandemic rules, the other day and called me. He had found that volunteers were no longer reliable. In a time of reduced professional staff, fewer volunteers showed up for their shifts.
In a task normally manned by two or three volunteers, he found he was working alone. The task of dealing with deliveries, visitors and queries seemed to be further confounded by the overflow of emergency department cases that were somehow being redirected to his desk. An older gentleman, he found that the last hour of his shift was made even more difficult because a powerful need to urinate. He would not abandon his post.
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
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