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Collecting good, bad stories ahead of provincial election

Posted: October 11, 2017

Posted: October 11

Nugget – North Bay  by Nugget staff

The Ontario Health Coalition is collecting stories from patients, families and hospital staff, and organizing them to generate an election debate about the changes needed to protect and improve local public hospital services.

To that end, it has planned a series of public forums throughout the province, including one in North Bay from 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Oct. 21 at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 23, 150 First Avenue W.

The coalition says it has spent the past decade fighting hospital cuts and privatization of services, as well as working with local groups to save local hospitals from closure.

It says these groups are contacted daily by people who have stories and ideas to share about their hospitals. The stories run the gamut from life-affirming to heart-breaking.

Some people have received excellent and life-saving care, while others have been stuck on stretchers in hallways, sunrooms or patient lounges for days waiting for a bed, it says.

Frail elderly patients have been pushed out of hospital too quickly, the coalition says, ending up back in emergency departments.

Public hospitals have innovated to reduce waits, or instituted programs that integrate care so it is seamless and well-organized, it says. But nurses and care staff are working with crushing workloads. Doctors are seeing their services taking second place to bean-counting, or are concerned about vital care being moved out of town.

The coalition wants to hear it all: Ontarians’ stories and ideas, health professionals and care workers’ perspectives, experiences good and bad, and improvements that could be spread across the province.

The goal is to come up with a platform of ‘progressive reform’ that the coalition will use leading up the provincial election planned for next spring to address the urgent issues of under-capacity, cuts, privatization and overcrowding.

The coalition calls for improved funding, but also the changes needed to make sure that funding actually goes to improving care levels and access for patients.

In addition, it wants to celebrate the positives — to recognize the tremendous job the hospital system does with so few resources in providing high-quality care for Ontarians and to highlight positive innovations within the public health-care system.

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