The Current received the following media release from the Renfrew County Health Coalition on May 8.
Renfrew County is calling code red on the healthcare system proposed by the province’s Bill 60, which allows for private companies to arrange healthcare services with less qualified health caregivers, less transparency and less accountability.
“When our public hospitals and clinics become private, it won’t be nonprofits such as the VON (Victorian Order of Nurses) and the Salvation Army running them – it will be for-profit businesses. That is not well understood by all.” says Leona Haley, Chair, Renfrew County Health Coalition.
The consistent underfunding of the public healthcare system by the present provincial government has left Ontario with the lowest funding for public hospitals, in addition to the fewest nurses per patient in Canada. Thousands of residents across the province and a third of the residents in Renfrew County are without family doctors, in part due to this underfunding. Healthcare workers are overworked from inadequate staffing all while there is a historical shortage of long term care beds for our senior citizens.
“Residents need to understand that more corporations will make a profit from our residents’ failing health as further privatization occurs. Even the scenes from Ontario’s private for-profit long term care during the pandemic can become a reality here,” says Haley.
Years before Ottawa Valley hospitals charged for parking, bigger centres had been. Likewise, for years Ottawa clinics have been offering less complicated surgeries such as cataract removal. As a result there are fewer surgeons to perform them in Renfrew County hospitals, our waitlists lengthened and local residents began driving to Ottawa for the service. The surgeries are paid by OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) as they should. However, patients are unnecessarily charged for medical testing and products.
The OHC provides strong evidence that the ultimate goal of Bill 60 is to privatize healthcare further. From now until May 27, a non-partisan group of concerned Renfrew County residents have agreed to hold a referendum initiated by the OHC. All provincial political parties have been invited to promote this referendum, to date one of the parties has agreed.
There is one simple yes or no question on the ballot: Do you want our public hospital services to be privatized to for-profit hospitals and clinics?
Ontario residents 16 years of age and older who are concerned with the state of our healthcare system can voice their opinion by voting in the referendum. Booths will be set up throughout the county in Renfrew, Cobden, Pembroke and Barry’s Bay, to name a few. Volunteers will be hosting voting booths in work places, malls, stores, churches and community events. There will also be an option to vote online if you choose.
“We wouldn’t have serious surgery without a consultation. We are requesting the consultation that the public was not offered from the government before we allow the government to profit from patients’ needs,” says Haley.
Ontario Health Coalition Analysis of Bill 60
The Ontario Health Coalition has also published concerns about Bill 60. Of particular note is their Analysis of the legislation, including their comments on Secrecy, Accountability and Standards, referring to S.19-23 which The Current has reproduced below for ease of reference. Click HERE to visit the analysis section of the Ontario Health Coalition website.