Letter to the Editor: Open letter to Kathleen Wynne Premier of Ontario and Eric Hoskins Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
After viewing the CTV program, W5 entitled "Neglected Care", I felt compelled to write to you to express my disgust over the treatment of seniors in Long Term Care. However, I must add that, as frontline Healthcare worker for the past 30 years, I am not surprised.
The Ontario Governments public/ private partnership has resulted in a two-tier care system.
Those individuals financially able can buy a higher level of care. Paying as high or higher than 5000 dollars per month depending on their needs, while those unable, pay a co-payment of 1600 dollars per month if able, for less care no matter their needs.
The Auditor General of Ontario, a few years ago, stated the government is spending billions more, then if it would do the work itself regarding Healthcare. This has resulted in all of us paying more. It has become quite clear that your focus was not about providing better care for seniors but rather private profit.
Nurses have been reduced in numbers and replaced with unregulated healthcare workers and the overall numbers of workers having been reduced.
Your move towards a knowledge-based economy doesn't seem to apply to senior care.
Seniors requiring Long Term Care, in publicly funded facilities are paying more and receiving less. Well at the same time the pay and numbers of bureaucrats in health care have increased. In my many years of helping an individual going throw an acute health crisis, not one, requested the need for a CEO, President or another healthcare bureaucrat. They have requested a Doctor and/ or nurse or other healthcare professional. Yet your government would rather attack these needed professions.
When did creating millionaires out of healthcare bureaucrats become the first important priority rather than providing the best care for seniors requiring long term care?
One year after the Supreme Court of Canada gave Canadians the right to Physician-assisted dying, the Ontario government created a law protecting faith-based publicly funded corporations in healthcare, the right not to provide this service. Yet, no laws, acts or legislation around the care seniors should be receiving such as a nurse to patient ratio, among others.
Right here in Thunder Bay, a faith-based healthcare organization received compliance orders from the ministry of health and long term care. Not a very proud mark on an institution that has been here for well over 100 years.
Even the Best Practice Guidelines are only guidelines which a facility may or may not chose to follow.
If an individual neglects or abuses another, they are held criminally accountable. Why isn't this same standard applied to a long term care facility or any healthcare facility? After all, we have been told numerous times that CEO's/Presidents of organizations are ultimately responsible for their respected organization. The government did make them financially accountable for deficits.
Doctors and nurses as well as other healthcare professionals must comply with the Standards of Care under their respected professions so as to hold their licence to practice. At the same time the facility in which they work dictates their numbers resulting in a conflict compromising the care they can provide. Nursing has and continues to feel the effects of these cuts resulting in less care to the patients and deaf ears from employers.
Healthcare professionals placed in managerial positions are rationalizing why wrong is right or unjust is just, for the better of the organization. Complaints of low staffing levels is countered with better time management.
It has taken the Canadian government over 100 years to apologize for the treatment of First Nation children placed in residential schools. Will it take as long for the Canadian and Ontario governments to realize the mistake presently being made around the care seniors receive in long term care facilities?
I pray it won't.
In the past, a society was judged on how well it cared for its most vulnerable people. A good leader does what is best for the majority. Admits to its mistakes and works to correct them.
How will history judge your leadership? It is never to later to correct this issue.