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Peterborough letter: Appreciate and support our public health care workers

Posted: April 3, 2020

(April 2, 2020)

By: The Peterborough Examiner

PE letter PRHC

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, the Peterborough Regional Health Centre staff deserve thanks and respect from the community, Roy Brady writes today. – CLIFFORD SKARSTEDT , EXAMINER

People in Ontario are appreciating and thanking the staff in our public health care system so deservedly. It has been directed to nurses, cleaners, physicians, all staff. At the same time it is clear that the public health care system needs to be protected and enhanced, as very serious challenges will likely increase.

Unfortunately in the past, support for the public system has been too limited, for example the lengthy and utter failure to increase supply and staffing in long-term care and the attempt to reduce public health funding a year and a half ago.

What if our health care system had been substantially privatized? Covid-19 testing would have experienced “jumping the queue” to serve the needs of people with financial means. For-profit clinics would have favoured clients with money. Protecting the health of marginalized, homeless and lower income people would often have been an afterthought.

Health care human resources might have been tempted to move to this private sector, likely for increased pay (from fee-paying patients), leaving the public sector even more under-resourced than currently.

Again we thank public health care staff who are experiencing so much hardship to their health — amazing sacrifices!

If the Ontario public health care system is breaking down at all, it is because of how under-resourced it has been for many years. The pandemic, more serious than people have imagined, is a real test for our publicly delivered system. Our provincial government must protect and enhance the public system now and — let us not forget — for the years following this health crisis.

Roy Brady, Peterborough Health Coalition

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