• Ontario NDP has a political winner in universal pharmacare plan

    According to the Ministry of Health, in 2015, 2.2 million Ontarians had no drug coverage; patients spent $2.5 billion out of pocket on prescriptions. In a 2015 Angus Reid poll, 25 per cent of Ontarians reported not filling a prescription, skipping doses or splitting pills because of the cost. And this is unique among countries with universal health care…

  • Andrea Horwath’s pharmacare proposal makes good sense

    We are the only country in the world with universal health care that doesn’t also offer universal drug coverage, and for this we have suffered. Our existing hodgepodge of private drug plans and patchy public coverage puts too many Canadians at risk. At any given time, thousands face aggravated illness and needless suffering because they can’t afford the rising price of drugs

  • New report gives troubling new perspective on Ontario’s opioid crisis

    … n 2014, far more Ontarians died using opioids than in motor vehicle collisions. Many of these deaths, almost 60 per cent, affect a fairly young population – those between the ages of 15 and 44… in the fiscal year 2012 there were 7.4 million opioids dispensed through prescriptions. By 2014, that number had risen to 9 million… Ontario is in the midst of a deepening opioid crisis.

  • Reverse 45 years of neglect of health centres

    … there is a growing body of evidence that the belief espoused by the [1972] Hastings report — “that some shift from the present emphasis on acute hospital in-patient care… offers a means of slowing the rate of increase in health-services spending” — is correct… [CHCs] have been shown to reduce avoidable use of hospital emergency rooms, improve accessibility and comprehensiveness of health and social services in rural areas, and enhance the accessibility and effectiveness of mental-health and addictions programs…

  • Community care eases pressure on hospitals

    The rhetoric suggests that hospital funding has been limited in order to drastically increase funding for home and community care. In reality, funding for home care increased from 4.32 per cent to 4.92 per cent of the total health budget between 2008/09 and 2015/16. Funding for community support services, including home support, respite care, Alzheimer’s day programs and Meals on Wheels increased from 1.24 per cent to 2 per cent. As hospital funding makes up a full third of the total health budget, pitting the two sectors against one another doesn’t make much sense.

  • Ontario must increase funding for hospitals

    … although Ontario’s population has increased by 36 per cent since 1990 and the percentage of seniors who need more care is growing, the province has purposely shrunk its hospital system. In 1990 there were 33,403 acute-care hospital beds; today there are only 18,571… The current shortage of funds is endangering patient care, increasing the risk of infections, and dangerously stressing out hospital staff. It’s also cutting into hospitals’ budgets for capital projects, equipment and research

  • Why stop with pot? Let’s decriminalize all drugs

    The war on drugs has been an abject failure on many levels and none more so than the fact that, in our society, there is much more abuse of drug users than there is abuse of drugs. That needs to stop, for economic and health reasons. Decriminalization is not, as some contend, giving up on people. On the contrary, it is about giving them responsibility along with rights.

  • Up to 30 per cent of medical care Canadians receive is unnecessary: report

    … unnecessary care creeps into the health-care system for a slew of reasons. Part of the problem is patients, armed with medical advice from the Internet, demanding cutting-edge tests and treatments… But the biggest contributor… is the way excessive care is “baked into” the health-care system, with hospitals relying on outdated forms that make tests automatic and doctors ordering procedures out of habit…

  • You are on the front lines of mental illness — let’s talk

    Navigating health-care systems and finding great resources is a huge help. But even more basic is the ability to say three simple words whenever our loved ones begin to open up… 1. Tell 2. Me 3. More… allowing the vulnerable soul in front of you to slowly and safely process their thoughts is no lightweight task… being there is worth a lot… make an offer to help and see what comes back.

  • Type 2 diabetes can be cured in four months — if you cut calories and exercise, research shows

    After just four months, 40 per cent of patients were able to stop taking their medication because their bodies had begun to produce adequate amounts of insulin again. The researchers said the program worked because it gave the insulin-producing pancreas “a rest and decreases fat stores in the body, which in turn improves insulin production and effectiveness.”