Staff at the Dryden Regional Health Centre are calling for more support from the provincial government, after officials announced sweeping changes to Ontario’s current health-care system.

“Funding has not kept up with growing need at a time when patient volumes, labour costs, energy, regulatory requirements and other inflation have grown significantly  We work hard to find efficiencies without compromising quality of care,” hospital staff said in a prepared released.

“Ontario hospitals need the government’s support today to stabilize care.  It’s crucial that we continue to have access to hospital care as a safety net we can always count on.” The hospital added that they see just under 44,000 patients per year.

Ontario’s announcement, made by deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Christine Elliott, includes changes to patient transfers between health-care providers and organizations, more assistance for residents navigating the health-care system, the integration of multiple programs and agencies, and improving access to online health records.

"The people of Ontario deserve a connected health care system that puts their needs first," said Elliott. "At the same time the people of Ontario deserve peace of mind that this system is sustainable and accessible for all patients and their families, regardless of where you live, how much you make, or the kind of care you require."

If the legislation is passed, the government would also establish local Ontario Health Teams that would connect health-care providers and services with patients and families – creating a single agency, Ontario Health. Currently, Ontario has roughly 1,800 health service provider organizations – which the province calls a ‘confusing system’.

"If we expect real improvements that patients will experience first-hand, we must better coordinate the public health care system, so it is organized around people's needs and outcomes. This will enable local teams of health care providers to know and understand each patient's needs and provide the appropriate, high-quality connected care Ontarians expect and deserve," said Elliott.

The DRHC has previously spoke about about challenges they face on a day-to-day basis, including a high volume of emergency room visits, addiction related illnesses, mental health concerns, and hallway medicine. 

Staff say that over the past five years, the facility has seen a 6.24 per cent increase in general emergency room visits, and a 46.4 per cent increase in mental health and addiction-related emergency room visits. The hospital adds that they are seeing an ‘epidemic’ of drug and substance abuse, including methamphetamine and opioids.

The hospital adds that many patients are waiting in the hospital for care, that they should be receiving in more appropriate settings like long-term care, home care or community care. At any given time, roughly 25 per cent of patients at the hospital are waiting for long-term care placements. Staff say that these leaves them with less room to accommodate sudden increases in patients – such as during the winter flu season. 

For more information:
Dryden hospital highlighting health-care shortfalls

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