Health care is not for sale

To the editor,

According to Mark Holland, Minister of Health for Canada, privatization is too expensive. Private clinics are charging three to four times more than public hospitals for the same procedures, and private staffing agencies are paying nurses two to three times more with better working conditions. Many doctors are not going into family care because there are no incentives to work in small communities, no money to set up a team approach, and no respect or support for their efforts.

All these actions above – privatization, lack of teams of primary care, and respect – have caused our public hospitals duress. Your failure to address any of the 14 recommendations by the auditor general has caused emergencies to close, long wait times for patients, and backlogs of ambulances waiting to offload.

Ontario Minister of Health Sylvia Jones’ answer is to add more private clinics, raising the cost of care to our province and burdening our taxpayers with overage and extra fees. This is wrong-headed thinking. Blame seems to be placed on hospitals for not doing enough surgeries, the community for not supporting these patients, and nurses, already overwhelmed, for not doing enough.

Staff who go to the private clinics are not protected, with no pension and no benefits. These risks are being caused by your government who casually suggest that all the patients need is their OHIP card.

When the private clinics overcharge for unnecessary services, add extra costs for unwarranted lenses or mappings, and pressure the people to return for followups, they need to pay out of the taxpayer’s pocket.

The Ontario Health Coalition has been documenting all these overages, which the Doug Ford government needs to refund to these clients. These casual comments by Ford and Jones are false and misleading.

The public of Ontario demands that you stop the expansion of the private hospitals/clinics per the Commitment to the Future of Medicare Act (Ontario) and the Canada Health Act. These violations are unacceptable in Ontario by this provincial government.

Ontarians will continue to monitor these emergency unit closures, these violations of the acts, and remind you of your responsibility to the people of Ontario to provide appropriate health care to everyone.

Concerned with the direction of health care in Ontario,

The Huron Bruce Provincial Liberal Association