(WINDSOR, ON) – The Ontario Health Coalition wants to collect stories from patients, families, and hospital staff, and organize them to generate a democratic public debate about the changes needed to protect and improve local public hospital services. The coalition has spent the last decade fighting hospital cuts and privatization of services and working with local groups to save local hospitals from closure.
These changes to hospitals have been foisted upon Ontarians without any democratic input. They do not reflect the values and priorities of communities.
There will be a public healthcare meeting at the central branch of the Windsor Public Library on October 25 from 3pm until 7pm, in the Fred-Israel Room.
Every day, health coalitions across Ontario are contacted by people who have stories and ideas to share about their hospitals. The stories run the gamut from life-affirming to heart-breaking. People have received excellent and life-saving care and patients have been stuck on stretchers in hallways, sunrooms, or patient lounges for days while waiting for a bed.
Frail, elderly patients have been pushed out of hospital too quickly, ending up back in Emergency Departments and paramedics have been frustrated waiting for hours to offload their patients into overcrowded hospitals.
People have tried to access health records and been refused key information or, conversely, hospitals have communicated well and are responsive to their communities. Public hospitals have also been innovative in reducing wait times or instituted programs which integrate care seamlessly. Nurses and care staff, however, are working with crushing workloads and doctors are seeing their services taking second place to bean-counting or are concerned about vital care being moved out of town.
The Ontario Health Coalition wants to hear it all; Ontarians’ stories and ideas, health professionals and care worker perspectives, experiences good and bad, and improvements that could be spread across the province.
The goal is to come up with a platform of progressive reform that the Health Coalition can use during the lead-up to the 2018 provincial election. The coalition wants to address the urgent issues of under-capacity, cuts to health care, privatization, and overcrowding. Ontario has had the worst hospital cuts in the country and the lowest hospital funding levels. Additionally, the province has the fewest hospital beds per capita and the least nursing care per patient while experiencing massive cuts to clinics and outpatient services.
The coalition’s goal is to call for improved funding, but also for the changes which are needed to make sure that funding actually goes to improving care levels and access for patients. In addition, there is a need to celebrate the positives, to recognize the tremendous job that the hospital system does with so few resources in providing high-quality care for Ontarians, and to highlight positive innovations within the public health care system.