• 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

  • 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…

  • The Canadian miracle in cystic fibrosis care takes centre stage — and it seems to be real

    A new study had disclosed that Canadian patients with cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease that impairs the lungs and snarls other bodily functions, have a median lifespan 10 years longer than that of Americans with the disorder… there is no simple explanation.

  • Stop assaults against nurses and other health-care workers

    … underfunding and understaffing are “significant contributors” to workplace violence… unions recommend that the ministry of labour audit all of Ontario’s health-care facilities to make sure effective protections are in place; ensure that workplaces have safeguards such as personal monitors, alarms and identification of violent patients; and ensure adequate staffing levels and the presence of trained security personnel where needed.

  • Paying MDs more won’t help

    …we are still obscenely wealthy when viewed against the backdrop of the vast majority of Ontario citizens, struggling against the ravages of neoliberalism and austerity. I am an inner-city physician… Most of my wonderful patients struggle with poverty. / … other factors matter more to our health than the quality of our health care: security in housing and food, good education, adequate income. These issues, which are critical to patients’ health, are not on the OMA’s agenda.

  • Breaking down Canada’s health-care silos: More money isn’t the answer

    Hospitals are largely paid based on how much they spent last year. Long-term care homes are paid for each bed filled. Physicians are paid for the number of services they provide. Crucially, all these entities are paid public dollars through separate envelopes despite treating the same patients. As aging Canadians with multiple chronic diseases bounce from one health-care silo to another, from hospital to the community and back again, nobody holds accountability for their safe journey across these settings.

  • The real challenge to Canada’s health system is not wait times

    More than anything else though, what Canada needs to fix its systemic health-care woes is to create a semblance of a system. What distinguishes the countries that have markedly better results than Canada – like the Netherlands and the Nordic countries – is the cohesiveness of the system, and the emphasis on primary care… we need vision and we need a system; not just data, but a willingness to act on the data.