The governing PC Party of Ontario announced it is expanding access to long-term care, reducing the strain on the health care system in advance of the upcoming flu season and working with front line health care professionals and other experts to transform the province’s health care system.
Premier Doug Ford and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, announced that Ontario is moving forward with building 6,000 new long-term care beds across Ontario, representing the first wave of more than 15,000 new long-term care beds that the government has committed to build over the next five years.
“We have taken early action on our Long-Term Care commitment – an exciting announcement less than 100 days into our mandate,” said Ford. “We told the people of Ontario we’d make our hospitals run better and more efficiently, and we’d get them the care they deserve. Today, we’re keeping that promise,” he said about last week’s announcement.
As an immediate measure, Ford and Elliott also announced that Ontario will create 640 new beds and extend funding for spaces already operating in the hospital and community sectors across Ontario to help communities prepare for the surge that accompanies the annual flu season.
The PC’s are hoping that these actions will ease pressure on hospitals, help doctors and nurses work more efficiently, and provide better, faster health care for patients and their families.
Niagara West MPP, Sam Oosterhoff, said that specifically these measures should help alleviate the chronic stress on hospitals and the entire healthcare system caused by what are known as, alternative level of care (ALC) patients. “We are putting the power back in the hands of frontline doctors and nurses and giving them the resources to alleviate ALC pressures,” he explained in an interview with The Niagara Independent.
Oosterhoff anticipates a Niagara specific announcement soon, with St. Catharines and Welland getting an increase in Long-Term Care beds.
Oosterhoff said that one healthcare executive explained it to him as a constipated system. “He told me that there are all these patients entering the system but the resources aren’t available to move them through and out the other side creating a jammed up system.” Oosterhoff said the problem is particularly noticeable in Niagara with such a large senior’s population. “We need to make sure they get the care they deserve.”
“One patient treated in a hallway is one patient too many,” said MPP Oosterhoff.