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Is Ontario Healthcare On Life Support?

Hospitals are reeling, and the system that runs them is seemingly circling the drain.

Long-standing issues of not enough nurses, not enough beds, and shortages in supplies and equipment were amplified over the past two years and exposed the unfortunate underbelly of the public healthcare system. As a result, burnt-out and exhausted nurses have walked off the job, hallway healthcare is the norm, and making do with what we have is the order of the day. People with complex needs will not get attended to, sick and injured people will not be able to be with their families, and the workforce will lose productivity. 

Unfortunately, Ontario’s public health sector was vastly unprepared for the COVID-19 curveball, and now patients are in danger of being left to bear the burden moving forward.

Some of the suggestions from the government to journalists ask Canadians to shatter some sacred values. Others ask to enhance and fix the current system. Whatever the cure is for the sick system, it won’t be easy to find.

What Is Being Proposed By The Ontario Government?

Premier Doug Ford laid out his plan to deal with the crisis in August 2021. The plan hopes to boost the number of surgeries in private-sector facilities, attract some 6,000 healthcare workers, and create new powers to transfer the elderly to long-term care homes not of their choosing. The government also proposes a $400 daily charge for non-acute patients who use a hospital bed. While these ideas were praised by many, critics raised the specter of privatization. 

Not all public systems are 100 percent private. As it stands now, Canada has allowed for some private sector medicine. South Korea, the U.K., and Taiwan all have public systems with private elements. Canada can look to them for plans to offload the burden from aspects of the public system. In a sense, the opposite is also happening regarding dental care. The Liberal-NDP joint government is pushing for more public options for dentist visits.