‘Make you sick’

Dear Editor:

In 1947 Tommy Douglas, Premier of Saskatchewan, envisioned universal health care for all Canadians!

In 1979 an S.O.S. Medicare Conference saw the formation of the Canadian Health Coalition. This coalition’s work resulted in the 1984 Canada Health Act, our beacon and statutory protection for health care for all, from cradle to grave.

In 2002 the The Honourable Roy Romanov, Head of the Royal Commission on the future of Health Care in Canada warned, “Don’t let our guard down!” 

To protect and expand universal health care has been an ongoing fight, and here we are, in 2023, continuing to fight for the protection and improvement of our public health care system in Ontario. 

Yes, I agree with a reply to my letter (“Brutal dismantling,” Feb. 9) that the current government is by no means the only government in Ontario to have set its sights on eroding services from our current OHIP. But I can only deal with the here and now … the present crisis. 

Our current provincial government has systematically created a health care crisis in our province. Facilities are available throughout Ontario; staffing is not! Rather than support an integrated, robust system of health care, this government is proposing to allow a parallel system, private clinics. 

We have all heard the dangers of this plan: high costs for service only available to a few citizens; poaching of staff from our hospital systems and in fact, from beyond our Ontario boundaries; exclusion of patients with more medical complexities even though they may need cataract work or joint replacements; the extended travel for patients as private clinics will be focused in larger centres. We have all heard about the long wait lists, the temporary, sometimes permanent closures, of emergency departments, the existing staff shortages of nurses, doctors, specialists, the splitting of dollars between public and private settings. Privatization does not address the crisis in our health care system but continues to promote chaos and crisis. 

Nothing is proposed to address the staffing shortages. Our government would rather appeal Bill 124 and allow nurses to leave their profession or seek employment elsewhere. 

Nothing is proposed to address the shortage of doctors. Our government would rather drag its feet on accreditation and allow Canadian doctors living out of country to remain and not practise at home. 

Nothing is planned to encourage specialists to practise in Ontario. Our government would rather not provide incentives to attract top calibre professionals. Yes, our government would rather pursue their privatization plan at all costs to Ontarians. 

Let’s fight for saving our universal health care in Ontario. Losing services could make you sick!

Marta Hoyles and Ken Feakins,
Mount Forest