Today (Tuesday, April 18th) a group from the Cornwall Health Coalition gathered in front of Cornwall Community Hospital where Elaine MacDonald, co-chair of the Cornwall Health Coalition started a press conference by stating, “We’re here today as members of the OHC (Ontario Health Coalition). We formed over 30 years ago, with one purpose: to protect the public healthcare system. When times are good, we’re invisible but in times of crisis, we stand up. Such a time is now. We are standing up to call out a sea change in Ontario’s social safety net, specifically in public healthcare and even more specifically within public hospitals. And this sea change is being enacted without the consent of the people”.
Cataract operations, knee and hip replacements are ‘backlogging’ Ontario’s health system, stated Premier Ford this past January and the plan to remedy this is to significantly ramp up the number of surgeries done in privately run for-profit clinics outside of hospitals. These clinics are operated by the private sector and receive public funding from the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).
Supposedly for patients this would mean a reduced wait time for such surgeries, right?
However various health-care professionals are concerned that this move would drain resources from publicly funded hospitals and benefit the owners of private-sector clinics without improving patient care. Consequently there is a worry that Doctors and Nurses will leave public hospitals to get higher paid jobs in the Private sector which means hospitals will become understaffed as well as being underfunded and these hospitals that deal with more complicated surgeries, cancer treatments and more urgent hospitalized based care will run into major staffing and funding problems, with many even having to close
It is also interesting to hear that the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, (the agency that regulates doctors in the province), was never informed of the government’s plans to implement these changes.
While Ontarians are led to believe that they will “pay with their OHIP card not their credit card” in Bill 60, the Ford government expressly allows the for-profit clinics to sell an increasing array of medically unnecessary add-ons to needed surgeries and diagnostics. Patients are increasingly reporting exorbitant charges for their needed health care including access to doctors, tests and surgeries – things for which no patient in Canada should ever be charged.
The fear is that if the government succeeds in privatizing our public hospitals, we will lose our public hospital system and with it, single-tier public medicare and we will end up like the American healthcare system where unless you have good medical insurance you will suffer when it comes to your healthcare and it is a known fact that in the USA, 30% of all bankruptcies are due to healthcare costs.
Here are a few concerning facts from the January 2023 Ontario Health Coalition Newsletter:
Private (for-profit) clinics are there to make money and have significantly higher death rates because they skimp on trained staff to maximize profits. You are 9.5% more likely to die in a private clinic than a public hospital.
For-profit dialysis clinics also have significantly higher death rates than public and non-profit clinics because they use shorter dialysis times to push patients through faster and use less trained staff.
An additional array of safety and quality of care issues at for-profit care have been seen. For-profit colonoscopy clinics have resulted in more missed cancers. Faulty sterilization and poor safety practices have been an issue in a number of clinics, for example in one private clinic in Ottawa, almost 7,000 patients were potentially exposed to HIV/hepatitis contamination because of faulty sterilization.
We heard from Dr. Juliet Gill, a retired anesthesiologist who practiced in Canada and the United States and explained to us what she experienced in both the Public and Private sectors.
Please tune in to “Monday Morning Motivation” on Monday, May 1st at 10am on the Seeker Facebook page as we discuss the pros and cons of Public and Private Healthcare and Dr. Juliet Gill will be joining us to talk about her experiences. We will also be joined by Elaine MacDonald and Louise Lanctot of the Cornwall Health Coalition so please get your questions ready about the upcoming proposed Privatization of our Health care. What are your thoughts on this situation? We want to hear from you.
Todays press conference was set up to inform us that The Health Coalition is announcing a Massive Fight Back to stop the Ford Government’s Plans to Privatize Ontario’s Public Hospitals and give us information about the fact that coalitions across the Province are launching a Citizen-Run Referendum on Friday, May 26th and Saturday, May 27th.
In Cornwall and SDG, 21 Polling stations will be set up in various locations throughout the area. Most of them will be walk up or drive thru so it won’t take long to cast your vote. Voters will sign an attestation that they are 16+ and will only vote once. They will be asked to provide their postal code for proof of Ontario residency. There will just be one simple question on the ballot:
Do you want our public hospital services to be privatized to for-profit hospitals and clinics? YES or NO?
Elaine MacDonald said, “As members of the Coalition, we are 750,000 strong. When we count the ballots on may 28th, we are looking for 1 million votes. Together we can do this. On May 31st, we will meet with other coalitions in Toronto and present these votes to Queens Park”.
The Ontario public has never had any say about this plan to cut these vital services from our local public hospitals and
privatize them. Most of our communities have spent the last hundred years or more fundraising, donating and
volunteering to build up their local hospitals and bring services closer to home so as Michel Morrissette said today, he wants his tax dollars to keep our hospitals alive, not fund these private clinics. He said that when he turned 65 he lost his health benefits and is worried that the children after us will suffer if this privatization continues.
We also heard some stories from another lady who told us about a woman who went for a Mammogram and received a letter that the results were in but she would have to pay if she wanted them and a senior who was told OHIP would cover her MRI but later found out that OHIP would only pay $500 of it and she would have to come up with the rest and this is only the start…
For more information visit the Ontario Health Coalition Facebook page or www.OntarioHealthCoalition.ca or email: [email protected]
Locally you can also contact co-chairs of the Cornwall Health Coalition: Louise Lanctot at 613-932-1943 or email: [email protected]; Elaine MacDonald at 613-330-3117 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and visit The Cornwall Health Coalition Facebook page