Ontario promises faster, easier access in new health-care plan

Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones released a new health-care plan today, saying the model will allow for ‘faster’ and ‘easier’ access to the care residents need.

Jones spoke from inside St. Michael’s hospital in Toronto in the company of Executive Vice President Sonya Canzian and Minister of Colleges and Universities Jill Dunlop.

“Our goal is to make health-care more convenient for Ontarians by connecting you to care closer to home,” Jones said.

The plan outlines a broad series of initiatives that are organized under three pillars: The Right Care in the Right Place, Faster Access to Care, and Hiring More Health Care Workers.

One such initiative is an addition of $300 million to increase scheduled surgeries and procedures as well as diagnostic imaging, with a focus on areas with the greatest reduction in services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For too many people, health care is too hard to access, the status quo is not working,” Jones said. “Ontarians deserve to be able to get care when and where they need it.”

The advised health-care plan is also expanding existing family health organizations, allowing up to 1,200 more physicians to join the model over the next two years.

Ontario NDP Health critic France Gélinas condemns the Health Minister’s announcement today, saying it supports the Ford government’s continued push to privatize health care.

“Ontarians shouldn’t be fooled – when Minister Jones says ‘innovation,’ she means privatization,” Gélinas said. “Giving private, for-profit clinics freedom to offer health care services will mean that those who can afford to pay will get better, faster care while everyone else will be forced to wait longer.”

Gélinas does agree on the need for bold action and investment in Ontario’s public health care system.

“We need to end Bill 124 and implement a massive staff recruitment and retention plan, ensuring workers are respected and paid fairly.”

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