QUEEN’S PARK – Dr. Adil Shamji, MPP for Don Valley East and the Ontario Liberal Critic for Health, has issued the following statement:
“This morning, after months of inaction by the Ford government, Minister of Health, Sylvia Jones, delivered a series of empty promises intended to improve an unacceptable status quo in our healthcare system. Clearly, Minister Jones and the Ford Government did not learn any lessons from the pandemic.
“Today’s “strategy” offers no credible solutions for its promises of more beds and healthcare workers. The few solutions that are offered, such as forcibly discharging a small number of hospitalized senior patients into distant nursing homes, will have a devastating impact on patients and their families. Similarly, the proposal to rely on community paramedicine to relieve ER pressure ignores the fact that Ontario has a growing shortage of paramedics arising from difficult working conditions, pay issues and burnout.
“Instead of investing in healthcare workers and repealing Bill 124, Minister Jones has instead chosen to invest in for-profit independent health facilities that will lead to poorer health outcomes for patients and pull our healthcare workers out of the public system where they are needed most. This is exactly what has happened with temporary nursing agencies throughout the pandemic, and today, Minister Jones refused to admit the scale of the problem, let alone commit to fixing it.
“Rather than ignoring her responsibility to strengthen our publicly funded healthcare system by asking the for-profit sector to solve the problems the Ford government created, Minister Jones must provide real solutions that address the root causes of the extreme pressure facing our healthcare system. She must grow a robust nursing workforce by repealing Bill 124. She must invest in homecare now to ensure that people age with dignity at home, instead of a hospital bed. She must give primary care and community social agencies the funding they need to treat patients quickly before they need to rely on emergency departments, and she must put forward a real plan to address COVID-19 instead of shrugging her shoulders and letting Ontarians figure it out themselves.
“Until Minister Jones is ready to take real action on these key priorities, this crisis will continue to spiral out of control.”