30,000 new long term care beds, taking mental health seriously and dental care for low-income seniors will relieve burden and cut wait times
Doug Ford visited with local London health care practitioners today to share his plan to cut wait times and put an end to the ‘hallway healthcare’ epidemic that has Ontario hospitals stretched to the breaking point.
“My message to nurses, doctors and other frontline professionals is clear — resources are on the way and help is on the way,” said Ford. “We’re going to work with our frontline health care workers, cut wait times, end hallway healthcare and ensure that seniors, patients and families have the high quality health care they deserve.”
Under Doug Ford’s Plan for the People, an Ontario PC Government will invest in 15,000 new long-term care beds in five years and 30,000 new beds over the next 10 years, invest $1.9 billion over 10 years in mental health, addictions and housing supports, and provide dental care to low-income seniors.
Ford contrasted his commitment to frontline health care to the out-of-control spending, scandals and waste that have defined Kathleen Wynne’s mismanagement of the health care system. Over the last 15 years the total number of Assistant Deputy Ministers at the Ministry of Health has grown from six to 21.
“If your kid has a fever or your mom has a fall, you don’t go down to the Ministry of Health to have it looked at — instead you go to your local doctors and nurses,” said Ford. “If Kathleen Wynne had invested in doctors and nurses and patients the same way she has invested in new senior health care bureaucrats then every town would have a doctor, wait times would be a thing of the past and patients wouldn’t be stuck on stretchers in our hospital hallways.”
“As for the NDP,” Ford continued, “nobody in the history of Ontario has ever said ‘I believe there is too much money being wasted in the bureaucracy, so I’m going to vote NDP’.”
“Ontario’s health care system deserves change that will respect patients, and health care professionals,” concluded Ford. “My message to the people who are waiting, and the people who are frustrated is that change is coming and help is on the way.”
Backgrounder – Cut Wait Times
Dental Care for Low-Income Seniors:
- While two-thirds of Ontarians have dental insurance, for low-income seniors that number falls to approximately one-third.
- It is estimated that 2-3 million people have not seen a dentist in the past year, mainly due to cost.
- Many seniors on fixed incomes cannot afford dental care. An inability to afford preventative dental care, results in many seniors turning to hospital emergency rooms for treatment.
- In fact, there were almost 61,000 visits to emergency departments for oral health problems in 2015 (or someone visiting the ER every 9 minutes because of dental pain), and the Association of Ontario Health Centres estimates it costs the province at least $31 million annually.
- Kathleen Wynne has let low-income seniors suffer without dental care, putting further burdens on hospitals that are already pushed to the limit.
How We Will Fix It:
- Doug Ford and the Ontario PCs will support our seniors by introducing dental care for low-income seniors. The low-income threshold for the Ontario Drug Benefit will be used. Therefore, a single senior with an income of $19,300 or less will qualify, or a couple with a combined income of $32,300 or less will qualify.
- This investment could assist almost 100,000 seniors and can be implemented in two stages.
- First, the Ontario PCs will increase funding for dental services in Public Health Units, Community Health Centres, and Aboriginal Health Access Centres to help provide greater capacity for these services to assist low-income seniors with dental care.
- Second, the government will invest in new dental services in under-serviced areas, including increasing capacity in public health units and investing in mobile dental buses.
- These investments will cost the government $98 million annually once fully implemented.
Building Long-Term Care Beds:
- There is a crisis in our health care system: our hospitals are being pushed to the breaking point and patients are receiving care in hallways.
- For the past 15 years, the Liberals have known Ontario’s seniors population would continue to grow but failed to take the appropriate steps to ensure the system would be prepared to care for them.
- For example, there are currently more than 32,000 seniors on the waiting list for a long-term care bed in Ontario and, in 2041, the provincial senior population is expected to almost double to 4.6 million from the current 2.3 million.
- One of the main reasons for hospital overcrowding, and long waiting lists, is the large number of Alternative Level of Care (ALC) patients – those whose conditions should not necessitate hospital stays, but remain in hospital because there is not a more appropriate care setting or provider available.
- In fact, the CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association noted that “The root of today’s capacity challenge is that far too many frail elderly patients can’t get access to the care they really need outside of the hospital setting.” A proof point demonstrating that building more LTC beds is the right thing to do.
- The Liberal’s legacy on health care can be defined by mismanagement, scandals, and cuts to front-line health care workers. There has been little planning to address long-term care and hospital capacity issues.
How We Will Fix It:
- A Doug Ford Ontario PC Government will cut hospital wait times and end hallway medicine.
- We will do this by committing to build 15,000 long-term care beds in five years and 30,000 beds in 10 years.
- This plan will ensure that seniors and the elderly in Ontario get high-quality care in the most appropriate setting.
Investments in Mental Health:
- Approximately one in five children and youth in Ontario have a mental health challenge. It is also estimated that about 70% of mental health challenges have their onset in childhood or youth.
- It is estimated that people managing with mental health issues costs the Ontario government $39 billion a year.
- Reports highlight that youth, in particular, are increasingly turning to emergency departments and hospitals for mental health issues, largely due to the long wait times to access mental health services.
- In addition, mental health programs in Ontario are characterized as not well-arranged, not well-organized, and not easy to access.
- Despite acknowledgement of the lack of accessible mental health care services, over 15 years, the Liberal government has failed to adequately invest in mental health care in Ontario.
How We Will Fix It:
- A Doug Ford Ontario PC Government believes that patients deserve mental health services they can count on – it’s time to take mental health as seriously as any other form of health.
- That is why the Ontario PCs will invest $1.9 billion in mental health, addictions and housing supports over 10 years.
- The Ontario PCs $1.9 billion matches the Federal government’s $1.9 billion commitment to mental health in Ontario. This gives the province a total $3.8 billion for mental health, addictions and housing supports over 10 years in Ontario.
- This commitment will help build a comprehensive mental health system in Ontario that will help students, health care workers, and all those facing mental health challenges.
- This mental health commitment is also a part of the Ontario PC government’s commitment to reduce emergency room wait times, as Ontarians with mental health challenges often go to hospitals to seek care due to the lengthy wait times to access mental health services.
 http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/mental-health-ontario-campus-crisis-1.3771682; https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/report-calls-for-more-mental-health-services-for-youth-in-ontario/article35227860/