Our local hospitals are crucial to our health care system, the front-line facilities we know and trust to deliver high-quality care for our families, friends and neighbours. But they are facing real challenges. Ontario’s population is rapidly growing and aging, and these population changes are having an enormous impact on the health care system. Emergency department visits are on the rise, and too many patients are having to wait in hospital for care they should be receiving in more appropriate settings, like long-term, home or community care. This means our hospitals have less room to treat people who really need to be there or accommodate a sudden increase in patients like the ones that occur during the winter flu season, and has led to the rise of hallway health care.
The government has taken some important first steps, but there is a lot of work left to do. Long-term, many of the solutions that will end hallway health care involve increasing capacity outside of hospitals. However, it will take time to transform the health system. Meanwhile, it’s crucial that Ontarians continue to have access to hospital care as a safety net they can always count on.
To keep up with the needs of our growing and aging population, protect access to front-line hospital care and avoid decreases in services or staff, Ontario’s hospitals need a funding increase of 3.45% this year. They also need the government reduce the red tape that prevents hospitals from working together with other health care providers and ensure Ontario’s patients have access to the right mix of hospital, long-term home and community care. This will create a stronger health system for patients and families, and reduce costs over time.