ontario healthcare

Doug Ford says he's fixing hospitals in Ontario but people are saying yeah right

Doug Ford is yet again being called out for his select investments into Ontario's healthcare system, which residents feel is floundering as emergency rooms shutter, people get charged for services they thought were free and wait times for care remain high.

On this last point, Ford's team issued a news release on Thursday saying that they are working toward getting patients faster access to treatment, starting with a new $44 million investment into 90 small and 75 especially high-volume facilities.

But, given people's own experiences at hospitals in recent weeks and the way they see Ford running (and, some argue, slowly privatizing) the healthcare system, many are skeptical.

Online responses to the news thus far are largely from people who feel that wait times and other issues with healthcare in the province are the current leadership's fault for instating massive cuts and refusing to meet workers' demands.

Many feel that not enough has been done to address the flood of ER closures that have only been worsening, leading them to consider this latest move an empty PR stunt to appease angry constituents.

Ford was criticized earlier this month for his meagre and very specific investments in the sector, which have included additional funding for hospitals near his own cottage, announced just after the emergency department in nearby Minden had to permanently close down due to staffing shortages.

Staffing has been a huge and ongoing issue in medical centres provincewide since the pandemic thanks to burnout and backlogs following lockdown, leaving some municipalities without an open ER.

Last May, Ontario became the province with the lowest ratio of registered nurses in direct care to the number of residents, with hospital wait times hitting a 14-year high.

The province says hospitals will be able to determine how they will allocate this new round of funding, focusing on "local solutions that will help people receive care faster and reduce their length of stay in an emergency department."

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