Ontario Health Coalition Plans Huge Health Care Rally, September 13 at
noon at the Ontario Legislature to Press All Political Parties to
Address Key Health Concerns
TORONTO, Sept. 7, 2011 /CNW/ - After two decades of health
restructuring, access to public health care services in Ontario is
suffering. Acute and chronic care hospital beds have been cut in half.
While home care has increased and more long-term care beds have opened,
extreme levels of hospital overcrowding yield evidence that hospital
bed cuts have gone too far.
"While promises to improve access to home care are welcome, all
political parties' platforms are lacking details on how the parties
will deal with the severe shortfall of hospital beds across Ontario,"
said Natalie Mehra, Ontario Health Coalition Director. "The McGuinty
government deserves credit for the improvements they have made in
access to family doctors, nurse-led clinics, community health centres
and family health teams. They have also reduced wait times for a number
of surgeries and treatments. But there is a severe shortage of acute
care hospital beds, and access to longer-term care for seniors both in
hospitals and in the community is poor and inequitable."
"This election Ontarians need to push our political parties for clear
commitments on the key health care issues," she concluded. "Will they
stop privatization and protect public non-profit health care? Will they
commit to keeping small and rural hospitals' acute care and emergency
services open? Will they restore closed hospital beds and services and
address the severe shortage of hospital beds? What concrete steps will
they take to improve democratic governance and public accountability?
And importantly, since they all want to download ever more patients out
of hospital into home care, will they commit to establishing a stable
public non-profit home care system, like every other province in
Key Findings on Access to Care:
After two decades of hospital cuts, Ontario has the fewest hospital beds
per population of any province in Canada. In fact, Ontario is fourth
from the bottom of all industrialized countries in numbers of hospital
beds per population, followed only by Turkey, Chile and Mexico.
18,500 hospital beds have been cut since 1990.
Ontario's hospital occupancy rate is now 98%, far above occupancy rates
in the rest of the industrialized world. Bed shortages have contributed
to ER backlogs, cancelled surgeries, high infection rates, and longer
waits for care.
More than 23,900 people are waiting for placement in a long term care
home. New beds are needed in public and non-profit long-term care homes
and minimum care standards are needed to ensure adequate care levels.
More than 10,000 people are on wait lists for home care. Ontario has the
most privatized home care system in the country and is the only
province that runs home care entirely through a destabilizing
competitive bidding system.
Access to front-line medicine (nurse-led clinics, community health
centres, nurse practitioners, family doctors, and family health teams)
has improved. Continued progress is needed, particularly in underserved
Wait times for some treatments and surgeries have improved.
Democratic governance of health care institutions and services is being
The full report can be accessed at: http://www.web.net/~ohc/platformfinal2011.pdf
SOURCE Ontario Health Coalition
For further information:
Natalie Mehra 416-230-6402 (cell) or OHC office (416) 441-2502.