I think we can all agree, that the rising occurrence of hallway medicine and code zero events is a serious problem.
The current provincial standard is 30 minutes to offload a patient. Yet the average offload time in Hamilton is over three times that.
The current system operated by the central ambulance communication center is inefficient, sometimes leading to ambulances responding to nonlife-threatening emergencies prior to life-threatening ones.
Frontline Paramedics should be given greater flexibility in determining where to offload, utilizing primary care clinics when deemed appropriate.
Right now there are 32,000 people waiting for long-term beds in Ontario. This has led to 16% of hospital beds being taken up by seniors waiting for long-term care at an estimated cost of 2.4 billion dollars. This problem is particularly evident in Hamilton, where provincial funding fails to account for our aging population.
What we need is a system-wide strategy to better use existing resources in-home care, and long-term care.
The Green Party will ensure the staff of long-term care facilities have proper resources to appropriately address the needs of residents.
We will Increase funding for home and community care to provide support for people to live at home longer. We will also provide financial support for family members who care for an infirm relative full time.
The Green Party will immediately invest in front-line care, hiring more nurses, support workers, and nurse practitioners. We will develop a healthcare capacity plan to reopen hospital beds operating rooms and services based on the populations’ needs. This will allow Hamilton to get a bigger share of healthcare funding in light of our older population.
More importantly, we will shift our focus to preventative care. Studies have shown that an increased focus on preventative care can save Canadians billions of dollars. Once a patient has arrived at the ER, it is already too late. We need to get better catching problems before they become emergencies. Community care clinics that offer a full range of services should be available in every community. Advances in medicine, like DNA testing to predict genetic risks and determine the most effective treatments should be free to everyone. We need to prioritize our children’s health and tackle the obesity crisis by implementing a school food program to ensure students have access to healthy, local sustainable food.
We will support greater dental coverage and push for a federally funded Pharmacare program, knowing that such a program would allow us to negotiate better pricing than the almost 70% markup we pay currently on many drugs.
The Green Party will Create an umbrella organization – Mental Health and Addictions Ontario – to consolidate all mental-health and addictions programs in Ontario and drive a future provincial mental health and addictions strategy.
That will include funding for education and training of health professionals, including physicians and psychotherapists, to expand their scope of practice to include the diagnosis, and treatment of a wider variety of mental health and addictions issues. We will provide greater access to mental health services for students by increasing the availability of school counselors, psychologists, behavioral scientists and social workers, and by improving the level of integration of social services within education, including embedding mental health services into schools.