QUEEN’S PARK – Dr. Adil Shamji, MPP for Don Valley East and Ontario Liberal Critic for Health, has issued the following statement:
“A newly available Ontario Health report entitled “Emergency Department Provincial Summary – November 2023” paints a picture of some of the worst emergency department metrics in our province’s entire history.
“What is particularly damning is that it shows patients face record-long wait times to be seen in the emergency department and to get admitted to hospital, even though patient volumes are in fact lower than last year. The necessary conclusion here is that emergency departments, hospitals, and the healthcare workers who run them are still not getting the support they need from their government.
“In November 2023, 10% of people who visited the emergency department were forced to be there for longer than 12.4 hours. This is the second highest this metric has ever been, only higher last year under this same government. Perhaps more egregious is that 10% of people waited an excruciating 39.7 hours or longer before they were given an inpatient bed. At nearly 40 hours, this is the third highest this metric has ever been recorded in our province’s history. These are not the records Premier Ford and Minister Jones are meant to be chasing.
“In short, this data reflects the Premier and Minister’s inability to create positive change in our healthcare system. It shows that we can only trust them to worsen it.
“What worries me is that hospital and healthcare pressures are peaking later in the year, and so this data from November will only look worse as it catches up to the realities patients are facing in emergency departments right now. As I look ahead, I remember—and urge all of us to remember—that although this report consists of charts and graphs, they represent the real experiences of real patients who deserve far better. I also remember the valiant efforts of our healthcare workers, administrators and hospital staff who steadfastly press on in serving our healthcare system against a government that seems committed to undermining their efforts.
“Ultimately, the findings of this report have made clear to me that we need a healthcare worker retention strategy from Minister Jones and Premier Ford right away. Furthermore, Minister Jones and Premier Ford must implement the Auditor General of Ontario’s 14 recommendations from their recent value-for-money audit on emergency departments. By fully funding home care, primary care and long-term care, this government can reduce pressure on emergency departments, and by coming out with public health messaging, they can keep people healthy and safe this winter.
“It is time for Minister Jones and Premier Ford to come out of hiding and meet their duty to deliver for patients and healthcare workers across Ontario.”