• How One Researcher Is Blocking the Road from Hospital to Homelessness

    in her work as a researcher, Forchuk conducted a review of discharge processes in several Ontario hospitals and found that, as a result of changes in policy, discharges into homelessness were becoming more common… Her current project attempts to intervene in such cases, providing resources to those leaving medical wards so that they can continue healing…[It] has already helped keep dozens of people out of homelessness.

  • The truth behind wait times and private health care

    We have emergent issues to address in our health care system, but most come from its two-tiered part, not its universal part. Thirty per cent of our system is private… Our health outcomes are impaired by the lack of non-physician public health care: lack of dental care that drives people to the ED for tooth pain, lack of physiotherapy that results in a reliance on opiates for back pain rather than desperately needed manual therapy, and a lack of pharmacare that ends in 1-in-10 Canadians being unable to fill their prescriptions.

  • Resources don’t match need for surgery

    We have just eight full-time neurosurgeons and four orthopedists serving the regional referral population of 2.4 million. Everybody has an elective wait list one to two years long. It is months before we can look after acutely disabled people. None of us in this province operates as much as we could under the resource restrictions of a system that has failed to match the simple growth of the population for decades, never mind the growth of technology and care options.

  • One solution to hallway medicine: outpatient hip-replacements

    Thirty years ago, this procedure would have required a hospital stay of up to seven days, and more recently it’s taken an average of three days… Women’s College is the only fully ambulatory hospital in Ontario, meaning it has no overnight beds. It describes itself as “a hospital designed to keep people out of hospital.” Part of its mission is to help improve the broader health system. One way it’s trying to do that is by spreading the word about the advantages of ambulatory, or outpatient, surgery.

  • Higher minimum wage a boost for health

    Nearly two million people living in poverty in Ontario will suffer if the Doug Ford government follows through with plans to slam the brakes on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour in January. A higher minimum wage enables more Ontarians to maintain their health rather than fall prey to illnesses such as malnutrition, diabetes and heart disease, which impose far greater costs in the long run.

  • After-hours patient care needs rethinking

    Our recent study found that emergency department use did not decrease for patients who joined the new practice models. Between 2003 and 2014, there was actually an increase in the rate of emergency department visits in Ontario, particularly during the day. At the same time, the overall rate of visits to family doctors went down but family doctors seemed to be providing more after-hours care.

  • Study shows how national pharmacare plan could work

    The authors are scathingly critical of those… who would use pharmacare to merely “fill in the gaps” left by existing private and public plans. Such an approach, they write, is merely a euphemism for off-loading the drug costs of expensive, high-risk patients onto the public system while leaving private insurers free to focus on those who are relatively healthy and thus more profitable… to be at all useful, a national pharmacare system must be universal…

  • Decriminalization is one powerful force to ease the overdose crisis

    When possession of drugs is a crime, it creates giant barriers to harm reduction and treatment. First and foremost, it means drugs will be supplied by criminals, and the supply will be unregulated, potentially unsafe and over-priced. This, in turn, means more overdoses, more deaths and more hospitalizations.

  • Ontario can’t afford to fumble on the opioid crisis

    Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott would have to be wilfully deaf not to hear the loud and clear message from health care experts… [that] these facilities save lives… if the “community members” Elliott is consulting with are concerned about the supposed “chaos” around drug injection sites that some have complained about, they should consider the alternative. That is people dying of overdoses on the streets outside their homes.

  • Ottawa funds health changes aimed at giving First Nations more control

    Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott announced $68 million over three years for Indigenous communities in Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan… Philpott says the money will help boost First Nations health services closer to home. She says this should help reduce the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in areas such as diabetes and infectious disease… “The idea is to increase the control and the design of health systems in the hands of First Nations governments”