Jessica Bell MPP, University–Rosedale

Government of Ontario

It took us decades to build a public health care system. We’re not going to give it up without a fight.

Published on August 19, 2022

The health care crisis is affecting us here in University-Rosedale. This month, three of Toronto General’s intensive care units reached bed capacity, including units for cardiovascular and coronary issues, and medical surgery. And on July 24, Toronto Western Hospital’s emergency room almost shut down due to a staffing shortage but was able to secure enough last-minute workers to remain open.

Emergency rooms shouldn’t be at risk of closure - ever. 

What’s the PC government’s plan to tackle the healthcare crisis? More privatized-delivery of health care. On August 18, the Minister of Health, Sylvia Jones, said they would address the surgery backlog by permitting thousands more surgeries in private hospitals.  

This isn’t going to go well. Private clinics draw from the same pool of staff as hospitals do, recruiting staff trained to work in an operating room from hospitals to private clinics will just make the staffing shortages and surgery backlog at hospitals even worse.  

Private clinics cost us more money. Private clinics have a track record of making more money by billing patients for services affiliated with the OHIP-covered surgery, such as food, a private room, additional testing and more. Patients will leave these clinics with a bill.

Private clinics have poorer health outcomes than public health care. We just lived through the tragedy in our long-term care homes where over 4000 period died. The death rate in for-profit homes was higher than the death rate in non-profit and public homes. Corners were cut and wages were kept lower in order to divert money to shareholder profits. That’s how privatized-delivery works. 

I join my MPP colleagues, the Ontario Nurses Association, the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, the Ontario Health Coalition, and countless Ontarians to call for a properly funded well-staffed public health care system. We are calling for the:

  • rapid accreditation on internationally trained health care workers
  • pay increases for health care workers beyond the government-mandated 1% cap so they don’t quit. 
  • measures to improve workplace conditions, including lowering patient to staff ratios, and stopping workplace violence against healthcare workers.

I raised these issues in my speech on the budget yesterday, and I will continue to do so. 

Please contact our office if you have experiences as a patient or health care worker that you would like me to deliver in the legislature with the PC MPPs. This issue affects us all

We have created an action alert for you to sign and send to Minister Sylvia Jones calling on her to fix health care by hiring and keeping staff, not privatizing delivery. 

We also have a petition you can download, print out, fill in, and bring back to our office so we can raise these issues every day in the legislature during the time for petitions. 

It took us decades to build a public health care system. We’re not going to give it up without a fight.