Ontarians have expressed increased fears related to provincial government suggesting that privatization of the health system could be an option as hospital units are shut down with extensive staff shortages.
This came after Sylvia Jones, Ontario's Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, when specifically asked about considering health care privatization, indicated that "all options are on the table" as the Ontario government attempts to deal with increased strain at hospitals.
On Thursday, the provincial government announced that there will be increased investment in surgeries in paediatric hospitals, and private clinics covered by Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).
Jones stressed Thursday that health care "will continue to be provided to the people of Ontario through the use of your OHIP card."
"We see the value of having some of those independent health facilities that have existed in the province of Ontario for literally decades, to take some of the pressure off of our health care partners," Jones said.
Ontario's NDP have also criticized the approach by Doug Ford's government to manage the province's hospital crisis.
"Sending surgeries to for-profit private clinics will make the health care staffing crisis even worse as doctors and nurses will be forced to spend more hours in for-profit private clinics than hospitals," a statement from Ontario NDP Health critic France Gélinas reads. "You’ll get the same surgical team in a for-profit private clinic, but you’ll get a big bill for everything from a consult with a nutritionist to upgraded cataract lenses."
"To fix the staffing crisis in health care, we need to hire more health care professionals. The government should scrap this scheme and instead launch a plan to recruit, retain and return nurses with better pay, better working conditions and the respect they deserve."
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