In a a recent interview with CP24, Ontario Health Executive Vice-President Dr. Chris Simpson opined that the mounting strain on Ontario’s health-care system constitutes a real “crisis,” even as the Ford government sought to downplay the severity of the situation.
“The business of health-care continues, but the pressure and the crisis feel I think that we’re all feeling on the frontline is very real. So crisis is fair,” he commented.
Many of Simpson’s seasoned colleagues have maintained consistently that they have never seen anything like this in their careers, referring to the severe strain on the health-care system. Notably, hospitals such as Markham-Stouffville and Uxbridge are among a number of local health-care operations experiencing severe delays in terms of emergency response. As well, on an even larger scale, Toronto General Hospital is under critical care bed alert amid staff shortages.
The crisis continues to be exacerbated by the fact that, due to ‘burn-out’, nearly one half of the nurses in Ontario are considering leaving their jobs as hospitals face staffing shortage. Yet there are many qualified nurses apparently from other parts of the world who are unable to fill these gaps.
It would seem that a lot of ‘buck-passing’ is going on, with the Provincial Government seemingly at odds with Ottawa. Premier Doug Ford says the feds need to ‘step up’ to help fix Ontario’s hospital staffing crisis
“We can’t really state strongly enough, the extreme pressure that the system is under,” he said. “The pandemic has sort of chipped away and chipped away and chipped away and it’s exposed problems that have been coming for many, many years in the system.”
Staff shortages have been reported at hospitals across the province over the last few months, resulting in the temporary closure of emergency rooms and intensive care units operating at or dangerously close to capacity.
As far as Emergency rooms are concerned, Dr. Simpson stated: “We’re at a point right now, where I think everybody is feeling it very, very acutely and the system functions now, frankly, through the extremely hard work and professionalism of the workers in the system and in the leaders in hospitals and other health-care organizations across the province”.
Ford finally addressed the situation recently in a news conference in Stratford, but downplayed the severity of the problem.
Speaking with reporters Ford said that “Ontarians continue to have access to the care they need when they need it.”
He said that “we can always strive to do better,” but touted the fact that nine out of 10 patients who visit Ontario emergency rooms for high urgency care complete their visit within a target time of eight hours.
However , according to the latest data on the province’s emergency rooms from Ontario Health, 89 per cent of those who need high urgency care and are not admitted to hospital do indeed finish their visit within eight hours.
But for all patients admitted to hospital from emergency rooms, just 24 per cent were admitted within a target time of eight hours. Those people — many of the sickest patients— spent an average of 20.1 hours in the emergency room.
“It’s not the kind of performance that we want to see from our system. Absolutely not,” Simpson acknowledged. “You know, patients deserve to be treated in a timely way. It comes down to a matter of delivering safe care, we all want to deliver safe care to our patients.”
He said emergency health-care leaders from across the province agreed on a call Wednesday that “it’s a very serious situation where they’re not able to do the jobs in the way that they want to because of these long waits.”
However he said that he wants to reassure people that in situations where people are in need of the most urgent care, such as a heart attack or a motor vehicle accident, care has not been impacted.
“This is not to diminish the importance of the other care, but just to reassure people that for emergencies, the system is still set up to appropriately get those people treated quickly.”
All in all this is a severe indictment of a system that was always second to none in this writer’s view. Political games are being played at both Provincial and Federal levels and the unfortunated are caught in the crossfire.
Terry Lynch is a licenced mortgage agent with TMG, The Mortgage Group. In addition to Reverse Mortgages, Terry also specializes in: conventional mortgage funding, lines of credit, commercial and construction loans, Challenged Credit. He also secures funding for a variety of businesses such as retail, restaurants, franchises etc.