Doug Ford Conservatives Reveal Healthcare Changes to Free Up Hospital Capacity, But Emphasize “Ontarians Will Always Have Access to Healthcare With Their OHIP Card”

After hinting at radical surgery for Ontario’s pandemic-ravaged health care system, Premier Doug Ford is opting for a series of lesser procedures.

But Health Minister Sylvia Jones and Long-Term Care Minister Paul Calandra unveiled a series of changes on Thursday that may not appease critics who fear further privatization.

“We are exploring opportunities to improve the efficiency of surgical delivery, including a system to distribute high-demand surgeries among all available surgeons,” the ministers wrote in an 18-page “Plan to Stay Open.”

“We will also consider options to further increase surgical capacity by increasing the number of OHIP-covered surgical procedures performed at freestanding health centers.”

That suggests more provision of some services by the private sector, as the opposition New Democrats have warned.

“Our goal is clear: to provide the best possible care for patients and residents while ensuring resources and support are available to keep our province and economy open,” Jones told reporters at the University Science Center. Sunnybrook Health.

“We need to be bold, innovative and creative,” he said, emphasizing that “Ontarians will always have access to health care with their OHIP card.”

With concerns growing over an “expected winter surge” of COVID-19 or the flu, ministers hope to free up an additional 2,500 hospital beds.

“Based on advice from the office of the chief medical officer of health, we are taking immediate action to further increase bed capacity in long-term care homes by appropriately sizing the number of isolation beds for COVID-19, based on community demand and COVID-19. -19 levels of risk,” they wrote.

“By the end of this summer, approximately 300 long-term care beds that were set aside for COVID-19 isolation will be safely available for people on long-term care waiting lists, with a potential 1,000 more beds. available within six months,” the ministers wrote.

As previously reported, the government is introducing legislation to “support patients whose doctors have said they no longer need hospital treatment and instead need to be placed in a long-term care home, while they wait for their preferred home.” ”.

“There will be mandatory guidelines used by placement coordinators to ensure that patients continue to be close to a partner, spouse, loved ones or friends, and to ensure that these patients do not have to pay for any difference in cost between their foster home and their preferred home. . home,” they continued.

“Prior to implementing this policy, Ontario is consulting with its frontline agencies and partners on these placement guidelines. This new policy will provide patients with the care they need and a better quality of life in a more appropriate setting, while freeing up at least 250 hospital beds in the first six months alone for those who need them, and supporting a better flow of patients in the future.

To deal with the ongoing crisis that has temporarily closed some hospital emergency rooms, the government wants to “avoid unnecessary hospitalization by expanding access to specialist supports that help people living in long-term care or while in your own home before your long-term admission. watch out.”

Anthony Dale, president and CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association, said the measures should “help maintain access to health services during what is expected to be a challenging period.”

Doris Grinspun, executive director of the Ontario Registered Nurses Association, welcomed the moves to speed up licensing of foreign-trained health professions.

“The nursing crisis is deepening; however, there are thousands of Internationally Trained Nurses (IENs) residing in Canada who have been waiting years for regulatory registration. The RNAO commends the government’s intention to accelerate IEN integration as one of the urgent actions needed to address the nursing crisis,” said Grinspun.

Acting NDP leader Peter Tabuns has said the Conservatives want more private participation in the provision of health care services.

More to come.


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