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New report looks at the threats of hospital privatization in Ontario

Posted: November 4, 2023

(November 3, 2023)

By: Evan Brewer, CityNews Kitchener

Andrew Longhurst is the author of a new report titled “At What Cost?” which looks into the Ontario government’s plan to put more funding towards for-profit facilities.

Longhurst spoke in the region on Friday in detail about some of his findings detailed in the report.

“For wait times, Ontario outperforms British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta and these are provinces that have had much more involvement with for-profit healthcare delivery and more specifically for-profit surgical facilities. I want to be clear, wait times remain too long in Ontario and the sensible approach is not to destabilize our public hospital system but to properly fund and improve the public system.”

The Ontario government claims that a reason for expanding the for-profit facilities is to cut back on wait times in the province and increase capacity, however, Longhurst states this is unlikely to make a difference. Instead, it would destabilize the public system.

Longhurst also said “The big issue that this report draws attention to is the fact that we have a fixed pool of healthcare staffing in this province. It doesn’t grow overnight simply by paying a for-profit investor owned corporation to build a new facility. What we have heard consistently from surgeons and hospital administrators is that Ontario doesn’t have a lack of physical space. It lacks the healthcare workforce to do the work.”

Natalie Mehra, the Executive Director of Ontario Health Coalition spoke with healthcare workers at Grand River Hospital in Kitchener.

“At Grand River Hospital, the healthcare workers told me there are ten operating rooms, one of those is closed down permanently and being used for storage. Seven to eight of the operating rooms are being used pretty much everyday. They work in the daytime but basically at night those operating rooms are closed down unless there is an emergency.” Mehra stated.

Some of the solutions that Longhurst discussed and are mentioned in the report include maximizing and extending hospital operating room capacity instead of for-profit delivery and the need to implement single-entry models.

Full details of the report can be found here.

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