If there are any institutions hoping for better times in 2024, it is our hospitals. I believe the problems are happening across Canada but I can better relate to the shambles we are enduring in Ontario. We have a provincial government in this province making a conscious effort to destroy our Medicare.
Elected first in 2018, the conservative government was already cutting funding and disrupting the reasonably effective healthcare system, built over many years, when the pandemic became apparent. The pandemic has been a struggle for all governments and the Ontario government got through the worst of it by fighting off the wage demands of large groups such as teachers and healthcare workers.
Given the light at the end of the tunnel over COVID, the province left the blame on the hospitals for the disruption and entered a period of encouraging privatization. This dismissal of Medicare was alibied by the private clinics being introduced as a solution to the horrendous backlog in minor to urgent surgeries. Instead of using empty hospital facilities, the surge was on for private clinics—paid for by the money labelled for Medicare. First-off the dime were the millionaire Ophthalmologists. These people are opening private clinics like mushrooms on your lawn. They will do the job for the OHIP payment but you really have to be resistant to their sales pitches for all their wonderful extras they will try to sell you.
But where were the staff coming from for all these private clinics? Doctors were readily available. It was the other medical staff that they enticed from the tight-fisted hospitals. Now the hospitals were unable to deliver. Hospital emergencies were short-staffed to the point of shutting down. When the hospital staffs were able to win more money from the Ontario government, the hospitals were hiring again.
But where did their new staff come from? The hospitals started raiding the family doctors’ offices with these pay hikes. Now the general practitioners were further alienated from the hospitals than they had been before. When the GPs figure out that their real enemy in all of this is the Ontario Medical Association, something smelly is going to hit the fan. All the Ontario government can count on is voter ignorance of what the hell is happening in their province.
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
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