Reading the Plan: 4 – Cut ER wait times in half and make healthcare a priority

tools4Well, nobody is perfect, right?

While I do think there are some good ideas in this section of the ONDP platform, it fails to address some of my specific concerns about health care in Ontario.

For nurse practioners and family doctors to be an efficient use of (our) resources

  • they must be able to prescribe tests that they know are needed when they’re needed – it is ridiculous that people are told to go to emerg to actually get tests/treatment within a reasonable amount of time, OR that they can only get what they need through a specialist that isn’t available for however long, or that they get admitted to and kept in hospital because that’s the only way to get the test they need in any reasonable amount of time
  • if there is a cheap and easy test available, why in God’s name would OHIP refuse to pay for that in favour of an expensive & invasive test that they will pay for? Both my daughter and I were told that as follow up to treatment for a particular stomach ailment, we could either pay <$100 out of pocket for a test which involves breathing on a slip of paper OR we could undergo a second endoscopy! In the hospital! At significantly higher cost!!  HOW does that make sense? Stupid rules serve no-one – and when they actually cost taxpayers several times more than the alternatives…. seriously?!
  • and why would we build 24 hour clinics to move people out of ERs? Can we not skip the cost of new buildings and instead rethink the way ERs work and use space? New buildings still depend on people to choose the right place to go – within existing hospitals allows people with medical knowledge to direct traffic appropriately and has the added benefit of 24 lab facilities on site. Put the clinics in the hospital (with some sort of parking relief for those who need it cuz parking rates at every hospital in Ontario I’ve had the misfortune to visit are over the top ridiculous!) and manage it all more sensibly. Please.

Also:

Mental health needs a whole lot more attention and resources. Why do so many people not understand that there are enormous costs to not providing services as soon as problems are identified? People, families, businesses, communities – everyone suffers when mental illnesses are allowed to get out of hand. And people die. When Ontario de-institutionalized people, the plan – supposedly (I am not naïve; didn’t believe it then either) was that there would be adequate community supports for all the people who would no longer be supported in various institutions. Now we have people living in homeless shelters, nursing homes and prisons – and/or people no longer living because we have failed them. Perhaps I’ve missed something in the Plan? I’m not seeing this addressed, at least not yet.

Home care & long term care needs are addressed, but here too, I think there are deficiencies in the NDP Plan. My thoughts:

  • More nursing home beds? Hardly ideal … instead, can we look at who are taking up the existing spaces? How many of those people are people with disabilities – physical or developmental or mental health – but under 65? They shouldn’t be there; let’s fix that.
  • And then we can recalculate what are needed to meet Ontarians needs – but I’m thinking our goal should be better, and safer, and keeping people at home with support whenever possible – not adding new spaces into a system that is already experiencing significant issues managing what they have.
  • And speaking of home care, the goals of wiping out waiting lists and a 5 day guarantee are loverly – but where are you intending to get the staff you need to do either of those things, if you please? PSW’s are paid pitiful wages for the work they do and the conditions they deal with… not to mention the fact that in all too many areas, the contracts (and thus the staff) wind up being forced to jump between agencies every couple of years. There is no possible way that Ontario can recruit, hire, train & most importantly, retain, enough PSWs to meet these goals right now….. there are reasons there are waiting lists!  So … what, really, is the plan here?

I could likely go on for awhile yet, but I want to get through the rest of the Plan – and should probably do some actual work yet today, also …. so I’ll stop here for now … but …yeah… no. Deficiencies.

BUT on the other hand – what are the other guys offering?

Liberals? They’ve had their chance to make progress in this area – they chose to waste billions on e-Health and ORNG and BS short-term games to reduce wait times (undone once they got positive press – I think that’s worse than just not doing it in the first place!)

And the Hammer? He’s all about money, not people, and has already told us he’s going to chop 100,000 public service jobs. And we know that the PCs don’t think that people with physical, developmental, or mental health challenges matter for **** so can’t see them investing any meaningful resources or attention here… so yeah…

not happy about the ONDP platform, but it’s still the best of what’s on the table, eh?

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