The old adage is if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Well, our provincial health-care system has sprouted numerous post-pandemic leaks.
The Ontario Health Coalition said the system is broken, while the province, acknowledging there are problems, revealed its planned repairs.
To the coalition, those are akin to slapping on a bunch of Band-Aids when crutches and convalescence are required.
Other organizations, such as the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, are adopting a wait-and-see attitude.
In the meantime, we Ontarians are looking at extended wait times for Emergency Department visits, and even postponement of surgical procedures, something that happened recently in Chatham.
Officials said the bulk of the issues lie in two areas, the patients and the staff.
For the staff, with many hospital workers, especially nurses, having put off vacation during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting to focus on helping the infirmed, they are burned out. That has led to increased sick leave, and an increase in vacation taking.
Both are understandable. Health-care bodies asked a great deal of their staff during the worst of the pandemic, a period that lasted for two years. Staff deserve to recuperate.
Meanwhile, people put off going to the hospital or to see their doctors during the pandemic. COVID outbreaks were regular occurrences in health-care facilities. Again, it’s understandable why they stayed away. And it also let the staff focus on those most in need of care.
The two elements have now created the proverbial perfect storm. As staff take time off, patient loads are surging. Those who should have seen their health-care practitioners or who put off going to the hospital are now showing up with more serious symptoms of their ailments, often requiring longer hospital stays to recuperate to the point they can return to finalize their recovery at home.
So, the province is pledging more staff, and will shuttle people destined for long-term care out of hospitals into just such a facility. It just might not be one of their preferred sites.
That has the coalition riled up; and worries loved ones. One solution might cause additional problems.
We shall wait and see.
If privatization is offered up as a repair to largely self inflicted damage to public health care, the reason for why Canadians rejected for profit care over 60 years ago has been lost. Private fixes caused the damage to the public good. Further privatization may cause irreparable harm