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Homecare disaster looming on the horizon

Posted: June 28, 2020

(June 27, 2020)

By: Roma Smith, North Bay Nugget (Print Edition)

To the editor: While we are distracted by the horrors happening in long-term care, the Doug Ford government is ramming a bill through the legislature that will lead to the privatization of homecare.

In the 1990s, the Conservative government turned long-term care over to private, for-profit businesses. The outcome of that is seen today in the disaster taking place in long-term care homes.

With the attention of advocates, frontline workers and families focused on the appalling mess in nursing homes, the Ford government is moving quickly to push Bill 175 through without adequate consultation with the public.

The Ontario Health Coalition calls this bill undemocratic and permissive. This bill will take homecare out of legislation and place it under regulations that can be changed according to the whims of the government in power.

Bill 175 will dismantle Local Health Integration Networks and replace them with an array of for-profit, non-profit and unnamed organizations that will coordinate health-care money and services. There will be no board of directors policing them and no board to listen to public complaints.

The march is on to privatize the homecare sector. Private businesses have one target only – that is, to maximize profits. To do this, they will pay workers the lowest wages they can and use untrained, unskilled workers to service clients who previously received care from qualified personal support workers.

For the past couple of years, we have been facing a severe shortage of PSWs and their numbers will continue to decline if they continue to be underpaid and overworked. Many have left this career for good.

Who will you complain to when you discover that the worker you thought was a qualified PSW has only two weeks of training? There will be no LHIN case manager to call for help like I had when I was caring for my palliative husband.

Senior caregivers just don’t have the time or the energy to fight a private business to get the care they are are entitled to. Another health-care disaster is looming on the horizon. It is permissive, disorganized homecare. Roma Smith Hanmer

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