Saturday, January 05, 2008

Maybe hospitals should be banned in Ontario

Warning: Going to a hospital in Ontario could be hazardous to your health.

Ontario ombudsman Andre Marin is the only provincial watchdog in Canada who doesn't have the mandate to oversee hospitals, his office said yesterday. He can therefore only investigate complaints when the government takes direct control of an institution, as it did with Brampton Civic.



Or at least bring a bodyguard - "What happened is a nightmare.")

(Caution - Don't read the Globe report while eating.)

...Alberta, Manitoba and Nova Scotia have laws making it mandatory for hospitals to report suspicions of abuse, neglect or violence done to patients. Not so in Ontario, where legislators have tried to require such reports by hospitals, only to see their efforts die on the order paper...

( . . .)

Ontario legislators have tried to make it mandatory to report suspicions of abuse, neglect or violence done to patients in hospitals or other facilities.

An Act to Protect Persons in Care from Abuse has twice been introduced, but it died both times on the order paper. A third piece of legislation that would have given the province's Ombudsman the ability to investigate hospitals and health-care facilities also died in 2006.


Now why is that, George?



* * * *
Related: Going green could also be hazardous to your health. (H/T National Newswatch and TA Baker)



Sunday Update - Fixing a Hospital Nightmare - Sun Media editorial:
...If this is a system-wide problem, this government is running out of excuses. Of every provincial tax dollar, 46 cents goes to health care, a whopping $38 billion. That figure has risen 30% since 2003. For hospitals alone, funding has jumped 36% to $17.5 billion since 2003.

There's also the hated health premium we're paying -- although it certainly doesn't seem to be buying us premium service.

Yes, the wheels started falling off the gurney when the Harris government sought to rationalize the system. But the Liberals attempt to buy itself out of the problem isn't working either.

And this hospital arrived under the Liberal watch and it isn't working.

What people who are forced to go to the hospital want is efficient service, the right care, and to get out as quick as possible -- in better shape than when they arrived.

For $17.5 billion, is that too much to ask?


So how's that cherished public health care system working for ya?

Please also read John Snobelen's Two new hospitals...and a little bit of envy.

Maybe McGuinty Liberals should be banned in Ontario.


30 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is an issue of funding and space. Patients are packed together because there aren't enough beds. What's the choice? We can leave them in the ER, or we can send them back home sick. We've had enough horror stories that way too, right?

And we should have more nurses around. But again it's a money issue.

And before all you big city hospital bashers get all worked up, remember that the big city hospitals get the sickest patients. Whenever a patient gets really sick within 100 miles of Toronto, they eventually send them to downtown Toronto. So, of course it's tidier and not so stressful in the Bowmanville hospital or whatever.

And by the way, funding for hospitals outside Toronto has grown much more than funding for hospitals inside Toronto in the past 10 years, as the government says that "population growth is more significant peripherally, so we need to give them more money"

Meantime, the sickest patients still come to the big city.

No easy solutions. Bitching doesn't help.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Your disdain for my 'bitching' still does not address the fact that "Ontario ombudsman Andre Marin is the only provincial watchdog in Canada who doesn't have the mandate to oversee hospitals".

What could possibly be the Liberal government's objection?

Raphael Alexander said...

The politically incorrect answer to that question is that Brampton Civic is overrun by demand. Demand from whom? Why, from thousands of immigrants, of course, particularly those of Sikh demographic, creating huge waiting queues as the sponsored grandparents of yet another Indian couple clog up the universal medicare system for a dry cough.

I consider my article essential reading before you head to a hospital in Brampton. It's far important to see to the health care of recent immigrants from India than some six-year old Canadian child, after all.

Another problem has been exacerbated by the lying liars that are the Ontario Liberals. Even though all three opposition parties said it would happen, the Indian Sikhs in West Brampton ignored them, and voted for their ethnic compatriot "Vic Dhillon", who lied to the faces of Western Brampton voters and closed Brampton Memorial anyway. So now we have a clogged system in which half a million people [and growing with every plane arrival from India at Pearson International] are all seeking treatment at the same hospital.

It quite frankly scares the living hell out of me that my wife is heading into labour in two weeks at that hospital. I wonder if she'll have to have our child on the waiting room floor while they check the blood pressure of a geriatric which should never have been allowed into Canada in the first place?

/immigrant rant

Begin charges of my racist xenophobia ad nauseum.

Anonymous said...

There is no doubt that an extraordinarily disproportionate amount of the cost of running our health comes from the care of people who came into Canada in the past few years with bad diseases that should not have made it past the screening system, if there is one at all.

It's not just the infections, it's the long term consequences of having had no proper basic medical care as children and adults, so they have all sorts of chronic diseases that occur vastly less often in people born here, and are extremely expensive to provide continuing care for.

While all those cases of TB and HIV and god knows what else are not trivial, people don't appreciate the really big costs that come from the continuing care of large numbers of third world senior citizens who entered into Canada when their children brought them here, and now they are being given extraordinarily expensive care for years and years at public expense. They never lived here, they contributed nothing to Canada, and now they live off the fat of the land.

The amount of money spent on welfare to unemployed refugees and immigrants is trivial compared to health care costs. A day in hospital costs thousands of dollar. The meds cost hundreds. Hell, welfare for a month is 600 bucks.

Joanne, responding to your point above, I have no objection in principle to an ombudsman overseeing hospitals, and I have no knowledge of why the government wouldn't appoint one, but I am not sure what such a person could do anyway other than force the government to spend even more money, or issue impotent suggestions.

I work in the health care system. It is at a breaking point, and things are going to get much much worse. And I have no realistic idea on how to fix it.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

It quite frankly scares the living hell out of me that my wife is heading into labour in two weeks at that hospital.

Oh boy. Well, you are entitled to your rant until we get a notice from the HRC.

In any case, best hire a bodyguard for the times you're not there.

Raphael Alexander said...

And I have no realistic idea on how to fix it.

How about not charging $75 for a two-minute appointment? How about a rapid survey team which can assess triage in a more efficient manner, and send the dry coughers home?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I work in the health care system. It is at a breaking point, and things are going to get much much worse. And I have no realistic idea on how to fix it.

That has an ominous tone to it. Thanks for your perspective. I always appreciate hearing from 'insiders'.

Anonymous said...

And Joanne it is sad that you even have try to 'make light' of raphael's rant, by suggesting a body guard. What he said is true and I see nothing racist about what he said. He is describing a situation that needs to be dealt with. How were Ontario hospitals supposed to deal with increased population in very definite areas while McGuinty and crew ignore the reality and close the hospital?
Remember health care was conveniently ignored during the last election. Why? Because the teacher's union has the bucks to get behind McGuinty,(remember all his cute photo ops in schools) and they have the shares in Bell-Globe media.
Keep up the rants raphael.
BTW I am involved in a 'welcome to Canada' group reaching out to new immigrants in the TO area...so don't let anyone label me racist.
This problem is not caused by the immigrants.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

And Joanne it is sad that you even have try to 'make light' of raphael's rant, by suggesting a body guard

The 'bodyguard' remark was a reference to the poor soul who was forced to drink the fecal cocktail, if you care to read the Globe link in the main post.

paulsstuff said...

"And we should have more nurses around. But again it's a money issue."

Perhaps spending more on nurses instead of things like, oh, I don't know, say The Ontario Cricket Club might make sense to you anon. And a bigger problem is the salaries fir administartion ballooning out of control. In Ajax, the number of administrators making in excess of $100,000 has grown significantly.

"And by the way, funding for hospitals outside Toronto has grown much more than funding for hospitals inside Toronto in the past 10 years, as the government says that "population growth is more significant peripherally, so we need to give them more money"


Well that sure isn't the case here in Ajax. We have to fight daily for things such as keeping the emerg unit at the hospital from being closed.


"And before all you big city hospital bashers get all worked up, remember that the big city hospitals get the sickest patients. Whenever a patient gets really sick within 100 miles of Toronto, they eventually send them to downtown Toronto. So, of course it's tidier and not so stressful in the Bowmanville hospital or whatever."

And that explains the ongoing incompetence at Brampton hospital how? Things like this:

" Most recently, a 72-year-old woman had the wrong leg cut open during Christmas Day surgery. In November, a man waited 12 hours in the emergency room before dying of pancreatitis 10 days later, his family said."


Note to anon. Pointing out flaws in the system is not "bitching", its necessary criticsm if you ever want things addressed and fixed. Sheeesh.

Anonymous said...

I work in health care too. The 'care' part is not what is 'costing'.
Too much admin and politics. And Mcguinty prooved he was not interested in the 'care' part when he brushed off the cancer patient during the campaign.
BTW does anyone know the high cost off the 'flu vaccine campaign' which is being imposed on health care workers?
The need has not been determined, proof of effectiveness has not been determined, and long term effects have not been deterimed but some health units are over-reacting and taking away the rights of individuals.
Of course this is not getting media attention.

Anonymous said...

raphael @12:31
You are making great sense!
Rominov was an NDP who wouldn't hear of it when he did his so-called inquiry. No one listened to front line health care workers.
Joanne ... I thought you were suggesting raphael get a body guard because he spoke about immigration...my bad!
anon@12:41

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Joanne ... I thought you were suggesting raphael get a body guard because he spoke about immigration...my bad!

Not a problem. Actually I'm glad you called me up on it, so I could explain in case anyone else took it the wrong way.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

BTW does anyone know the high cost off the 'flu vaccine campaign' which is being imposed on health care workers?
The need has not been determined, proof of effectiveness has not been determined, and long term effects have not been deterimed but some health units are over-reacting and taking away the rights of individuals.


That's right. It's all about optics with McGuinty, it seems.

Then there's the Gardasil debacle...

Raphael Alexander said...

I think the HPV vaccine is a good idea, but I'd make it optional, just like other vaccines like Meningitis.

Anonymous said...

Responding to Paulstuff above, while obviously the government wastes money on buying votes like the Cricket Club example,
the amount of money there is absolutely trivial to the cost of operating the healthcare system. Healthcare is the great big black hole of spending.

No amount of saving elsewhere will pay for the costs of the public health care system we all want to have. It is an utter impossibility. When people are sick, they want everything done, instantly, and cost is not an issue in their minds. And since no bills ever come to them, it never becomes an issue. So they have no idea what it costs. All those blood tests, the scans, the surgical procedures, the ICU stays.

Just the hospitals clustered around University Avenue have a total annual budget of over 2 billion dollars. I would bet that the budget for all of Toronto's hospitals exceed the annual operating budget of Toronto itself (7 billion I think). I believe that exceeds Newfoundland's budget.

If given a choice, I would happily go to a two tier system, public and private. I happily would pay thousands of dollars in insurance costs a year out of pocket to have a clean hospital to stay in, doctors that can spend more than 2 minutes, nurses that have time to look after me and talk to me the way they used to 40 years ago, and up to date testing.

However, it does not appear that my wish is politically possible in the Canada of today.

paulsstuff said...

"Responding to Paulstuff above, while obviously the government wastes money on buying votes like the Cricket Club example,
the amount of money there is absolutely trivial to the cost of operating the healthcare system. Healthcare is the great big black hole of spending"


The Cricket Club reference is just one example of government dealing with currying(no pun intended) votes, as opposed to spending the money where everyone benefits. In the case of the Cricket Club 12 nurses could have been on staff for a year with the same amount of money.

"If given a choice, I would happily go to a two tier system, public and private. I happily would pay thousands of dollars in insurance costs a year out of pocket to have a clean hospital to stay in, doctors that can spend more than 2 minutes, nurses that have time to look after me and talk to me the way they used to 40 years ago, and up to date testing.

However, it does not appear that my wish is politically possible in the Canada of today."

I agree 100%. Politicians will never address this issue. Harper tried and within minutes you had NDP and Liberal politicians screaming the sky is falling, the sky is falling. Here's my take on what you suggest.

500 people are waiting for an MRI at the local hospital. The person on the bottom of the list is looking at a 6 month wait. An MRI clinic opens up, but charges $50 on top of whatever money government insurance pays. 200 of the 500 people waiting say, hey, I'll pay the extra $50 to get my MRI quicker. Enter Jack Layton and Stephane Dion, whining that the "rich" have bought their way to the front of the line.

Well, lets look at the facts. Jobs have been created by the construction of the clinic, and by the daily operations when completed. Federal and Provincial governments reap the rewards of income taxes from those employed. Municipal governments reap the tax rewards from the building and business. Nearby businesses, such as coffee shops, see an increase in business from the people going to the MRI clinic stopping in their shop. The 200 people have gotten their tests and results quicker. And here is the best part!!

Say the 500th person in line was on a low-income budget and could not afford the 50 bucks. Well, surprise, that person just jumped 200 spots in line, and without costing them a cent. Everyone benefits. But no, chicken little politicians like Jack Layton will scream from the rooftops how bad this is for Canadians.

Anonymous said...

two points

1) maybe while we allow the Ombudsman to oversee hospitals, he could also oversee our schools whil we're at it??

2) the anon. who suggests that health communities outside of the cities made out like bandits financially, needs to clue in to reality. Out here in rural Ontario we're struggling to keep our ERs open on weekends, and have and walki-in clinics are several kilometres away.

The this all needs to be dropped at the feet of the government. What is the healthcare premium really buying us???

Anonymous said...

Right on paulstuff!The delusion of 'free health care' is really lost on some folks.

Your 'case' sounds like 'common sense'.

hmm...that reminds me:
Bring Back Harris!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

But no, chicken little politicians like Jack Layton will scream from the rooftops how bad this is for Canadians.

And Jack should be the last to complain, having been a private health care consumer himself.


What is the healthcare premium really buying us???

That is the $2.6 BILLION question!

paulsstuff said...

"And Jack should be the last to complain, having been a private health care consumer himself."

Along with Joe Clark, Paul Martin, Jean Chretien, Belinda Stronach, and I'm sure a number of Conservatives as well.

The most aggravating part is Layton's repetitive bullcrap about how the NDP is the party that is protecting our healthcare, when the truth is they are the reason dialogue is taboo, and the reason the system continues to deteriorate.

realist said...

The problems at Brampton Civic are simply a sign of what happens when you build new facilities without the proper staffing to staff them (there is a shortage of physicians despite what some "experts" have fed the politicians for the past decade).

I've worked in Ontario health care for the past 20 years and would say that we have only another 5 years before the system collapses despite huge amounts of money poured on by the Liberals.

Build as many hospitals as you want....but if you don't have the health care workforce to support them then you will be out of luck for your care.

The National Health Service in Britain is looking toward "self-care" whereby patients essentially look after themselves for their chronic diseases....which will swamp us in the next decade.

The problem is that in an attempt to save a system that won't work with the pending onslaught of chronic disease and elderly and new treatments, the solution the NHS comes up with is that patients must look after themselves! ....save a system which doesn't give the patient medical access! What kind of system is this?

And we know Ontario copies what the NHS does quite routinely so this is what we have to look forward to...save the current system at any cost while patients are left to fend for themselves without recourse in their own province.

Strange. Very strange.

What good is a universal, accessible, portable, comprehensive system when as a patient you are left to provide "self-care"?

We pay taxes all our lives in good faith and at the end of our lives will be told: Sorry, you will have to provide "self-care".

As the NHS goes, so goes Ontario.

Sign me: Dr. Merrilee Fullerton MD
you can visit my health care blog at www.realist2.squarespace.com

realist said...

The problems at Brampton Civic are simply a sign of what happens when you build new facilities without the proper staffing to staff them (there is a shortage of physicians despite what some "experts" have fed the politicians for the past decade).

I've worked in Ontario health care for the past 20 years and would say that we have only another 5 years before the system collapses despite huge amounts of money poured on by the Liberals.

Build as many hospitals as you want....but if you don't have the health care workforce to support them then you will be out of luck for your care.

The National Health Service in Britain is looking toward "self-care" whereby patients essentially look after themselves for their chronic diseases....which will swamp us in the next decade.

The problem is that in an attempt to save a system that won't work with the pending onslaught of chronic disease and elderly and new treatments, the solution the NHS comes up with is that patients must look after themselves! ....save a system which doesn't give the patient medical access! What kind of system is this?

And we know Ontario copies what the NHS does quite routinely so this is what we have to look forward to...save the current system at any cost while patients are left to fend for themselves without recourse in their own province.

Strange. Very strange.

What good is a universal, accessible, portable, comprehensive system when as a patient you are left to provide "self-care"?

We pay taxes all our lives in good faith and at the end of our lives will be told: Sorry, you will have to provide "self-care".

As the NHS goes, so goes Ontario.

Sign me: Dr. Merrilee Fullerton MD

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thank you very much, Dr. Fullerton.

What you say is alarming, but we need to hear it.

Hopefully it isn't too late to take action.

Sorry about the confusion with Comment Moderation. You probably thought the first comment didn't work. I'll let both stand because what you say is so important.

Anonymous said...

"The problem is that in an attempt to save a system that won't work with the pending onslaught of chronic disease and elderly and new treatments, the solution the NHS comes up with is that patients must look after themselves! ....save a system which doesn't give the patient medical access"
Very much a realist, and one who works witin the system.
Indeed we in health care see the problems, and continually ask 'Why are we continuing the status quo, all the while knowing it doesn't work. We need some politicians with backbone to step out of the box and fix this.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

We need some politicians with backbone to step out of the box and fix this.

And who might that be? I don't see the Mcguinty Liberals stepping up to the plate.

Anonymous said...

Well Joanne since you asked:
Bring Back Harris!!

realist said...

I supported Mike Harris when he slashed and burned health care thinking that this approach would get us back on track fiscally. He managed in part to do that but he acted too quickly and more problems had to have more cash thrown at them by the subsequent Liberals.

What Mike Harris did was temporary. We need a long term perspective and we can't have that as long as politics and health care are tied by the umbilical cord.

Politicians cannot tell the populace that our system is unsustainable and health care providers who are not tied to the ministry and who can speak out aren't heard either because they are perceived to be self-serving.

The public does not seem prepared to accept quite yet that our monopoly system doesn't work. THe unions of course are backers of many pro-medicare groups and are very vocal.

What the public doesn't realize is how bad things are going to get before they allow a true long term solution to be found...which will require more private care.

But Canadians seem addicted to their health care beliefs for now...and when they hit bottom they may see things differently. It has already started.

Look at Brampton Civic...they don't have sufficient staff. Why? Because of cut backs from the Barer-Stoddard report back in the early 90's amongst other things.

One thing is for sure....things are going to get worse before the public understands.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks, Realist.

I think that John Tory was talking about looking at some innovative ways to deal with the health care crisis, involving private facilities but using one's OHIP card.

Of course that was lambasted by the Liberals and NDP and then got buried under the FB-funding fiasco.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

BTW, I trust you've seen the new post?