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Local healthcare leaders and critics react to slight influx of federal funding

Posted: February 8, 2023

(February 8, 2023)

By: Rich Garton, CTV News Windsor

As Canada’s premiers rush to absorb the impact of this funding, healthcare leadership in Windsor-Essex is also curious how it will impact the many systemic issues that plague our system.

From surgical backlogs to crowded emergency rooms and burned out staff, there are many things to fix in healthcare.

But like the premiers, some don’t believe the federal government’s new deal is enough.

“In an eggshell, we’re extremely disappointed in Justin Trudeau,” said Shirley Roebuck of the Ontario Health Coalition.

The coalition believes the new money will equate to roughly an additional $300 million of funding in Ontario each year.

But Roebuck takes issue with the fact that there are no strings attached — and worries the province will use it to fund more private delivery of healthcare.

“That money, as bad as it is, should be put back into our public hospital system and healthcare,” Roebuck argued.

Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj wants more time to understand how that funding could flow and notes the devil is in the details, which he still needs to see.

But Bill Marra, the president and CEO of Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare, thinks the premiers will accept the offer.

“I think it would be a mistake to say no to the transfer payments that have been tabled,” said Marra. “I think it’s imperative that the resources be received. And then the ongoing lobbying should be based on data.”

Marra says Hotel Dieu is going through a service delivery review, asking tough questions about what can be done differently so that any additional monies have a greater impact.

“Let’s make sure that we’re not throwing new money at old practices that don’t work anymore,” said Marra, adding an innovative and progressive approach is necessary.

The hospital is currently focusing on reducing wait times and removing pinch points like ambulance code blacks and ER diversion.

“There’s more of a role for community to play, and that the hospitals, we should stay in our lane and stay focused on our core services,” Marra said.

There are no details yet about what level of funding could reach local hospitals.

But healthcare leaders agree the system is at an inflection point and needs to deliver on its core mandate.

“It’s what Canadians expect,” said Marra.

“They want timely access to health care, and they want health care that will provide a solution to whatever it is that they’re experiencing.”

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