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‘Emergency summit’: Fight privatization, protect care, say Northumberland, Quinte health-care advocates

Posted: March 31, 2022

(March 29, 2022)

By: The Peterborough Examiner

Area health-care advocates say they’re hosting an emergency summit March 31 to fight the government’s "unprecedented healthcare privatization."

Area health-care advocates say they’re hosting an emergency summit March 31 to fight the government’s “unprecedented healthcare privatization.”  METROLAND FILE PHOTO

Northumberland and Quinte-area health-care advocates say they’re holding an emergency summit to fight privatization and protect public health-care services.

And the Northumberland Health Coalition is calling on residents to get involved and informed.

“The (Doug) Ford government is engaging in unprecedented health-care privatization,” says the coalition.

Recently, Ontario’s health minister announced plans to expand private for-profit clinics and hospitals — and the government is midway in allocating more than 18,000 long-term care beds to for-profit companies in 30-year contracts, say advocates. That is unless they’re stopped, adds the coalition.

The majority of these beds are going to the same companies responsible for thousands of deaths and horrific conditions — and the highest death rates — during the pandemic, alleges the coalition.

Despite repeated announcements, the province hasn’t reinstated comprehensive inspections, nor improved care levels in long-term care; has not addressed the staffing crisis across health care and has plans for years of budget austerity after the election, says the coalition.

“It doesn’t stop there. Ford is privatizing the last remaining public parts of home-care. His government has strictly curtailed access to public COVID testing, while at the same time contracting for-profit clinics to do testing; has privatized COVID vaccinations and is allowing those private for-profit testing clinics to charge patients up to $400 for COVID tests.”

The coalition and Quinte representatives are holding an emergency summit via Zoom “to build the biggest fightback we have ever mounted.”

“Our goal is to protect and improve our vital public health-care services and stop the unprecedented for-profit privatization of health care,” reads a recent release.

The Ontario Health Coalition and Northumberland Health Coalition, non-partisan public watchdogs for health care, intend to set the threat to public health care as a key election issue and push all political parties to make commitments to safeguard care, stop privatization and address the urgent needs to improve care and staffing, reads the release.

Officials say they’re expecting a large crowd at their summit but are encouraging residents to attend.

Advance registration is required. After registering, people will be sent a Zoom link, note organizers.

The summit is set for Thursday, March 31 at 7 p.m. To register in advance, visit this shortcut: https://thestar-qr.com/3utQadZ.

The summit will feature representatives from the health coalitions, SEIU Healthcare, the Quinte Labour Council, the Northumberland Coalition for Social Justice, the Ontario Health Coalition, the Ontario Nurses’ Association, and the Hospital Professionals Division — OPSEU.

For more information, email Linda MacKenzie-Nicholas, chair of the Northumberland Health Coalition, at lmackenzie-nicholas@cogeco.ca.

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