Ottawa - Sep. 13, 2011 - At the first all candidates’ debate hosted by the Cornwall and District Labour Council on Sept. 7, it was clear that health care was the issue of the night. Residents brought forward concerns about senior care, public-private partnerships, and long wait times - all vital issues that Ontario has been facing for too long.
It’s time for change. The current practices are not working for us. It really doesn’t matter which party started or supported which policies, but it does matter where we go from here.
As it stands, around 50% of the provincial budget is allocated to health care services, and if the current trends continue, that number will soon reach 80% - a far cry from a sustainable system. We are faced with an aging population, chronic illnesses and cancers are on the rise, and wait times at hospitals are daunting to say the least. With so many challenges facing our health care system, it’s time for a new approach. We are at a point where simply increasing spending without creating new, innovative health care options will not work anymore.
The Green Party of Ontario has adopted a comprehensive health care strategy; one that looks to the future while meeting the needs of Ontarians today. Our strategy has three main points: health promotion and illness prevention, reforming health care delivery to ensure all Ontarians have access to services in a family care clinic setting, and honouring our seniors through a continuum of care to meet different needs and levels of independence.
By working to prevent illness before it arises as well as focusing on the importance of community health care options, we can alleviate hospital wait times while improving services and care for all. Our plan for senior care follows the same path, and looks at refocusing from hospitals to long-term care facilities that give our seniors the independence they want.
It’s time to refocus the health care system to prevent illness and improve accessibility for the long-term. We have a chance to start working on these solutions now, while we can still affect the outcome. The real issue is that these solutions require leadership, commitment, and a way of thinking that extends well beyond the 4 year election cycle. We are committed to providing this leadership, and delivering the health care services we all need.