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LETTER: Privatization will not fix health care

Posted: August 23, 2022

(August 22, 2022)

By: Shirley Roebuck in the Sarnia Observer

Before Doug Ford and the Conservatives were re-elected to a majority government, an all-candidates meeting was held in Sarnia. Incumbent Bob Bailey was asked multiple questions about health care in Ontario.

He stated: “I want to put to rest this notion by – well, I won’t say who – a certain coalition that is going around saying we are going to privatize health care. There couldn’t be anything further from the truth.”

I am presuming that he was speaking about the Ontario Health Coalition and the Sarnia Lambton Health Coalition. His comments were made May 16, and the election was held June 2. The provincial government came back to Queen’s Park in August and immediately tabled a Healthcare Bill allowing the expansion of private clinics to do surgeries, and to mandate that those patients waiting in hospitals for a long-term care bed could be moved to the first bed bed available anywhere in the province without the patient’s consent.

The new bill, if passed, will strip patients waiting in hospitals for a long-term care bed of their right to consent. The minister of health has openly stated that all options are on the table in the effort to “save” health care.

Privatization will not fix health care. Most private for-profit clinics charge extra fees, and also drain public hospitals of specialized staff, making the public hospital system more difficult to manage and wait times longer. Many private for-profit long-term care homes in the province have abysmal COVID records. Some 4,500 residents died during the first wave of COVID, most of whom were in private for-profit homes.

The Ford government has done nothing to punish those homes, nor to improve long-term care. Now there is stiff resistance to going to these homes.

I will add that the for-profit long-term care industry is only paid the full government subsidy if their occupancy rate is more than 98 per cent. There are about 1,180 patients in hospitals waiting for a care bed. Even if all these people were forced out of hospital to a long-term care home, it would not fix the staffing shortage in emergency rooms and intensive care units, as specialized registered nurses and other specialized health-care professionals work in those area.

The More Beds, Better Care Act does not serve the citizens of Ontario, nor protect our public health system. It is designed to enrich private for-profit clinics and the private long-term care businesses. It is ethically wrong.

Ontarians must come together to fight back against Ford and Bailey’s plans. Bob Bailey was re-elected to represent the residents of Sarnia-Lambton.

Shirley Roebuck


Sarnia Lambton Health Coalition

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