A rush to privatize health care is on
This week’s edition of who is saying what about public health care is compiled by Pat Van Horne.
Privatization gold rush
“The pace of privatization seems to be accelerating, with jurisdictions like Ontario and Alberta expanding private pay services in various forms. More recently, former Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott registered as a lobbyist for Clearpoint Health Network, which owns a chain of private surgical facilities and was acquired by the private equity fund of Kensington Capital Partners in 2019,” said Dr. Michelle Cohen, assistant professor, family medicine, Queen`s University, to the Toronto Star, November 19, 2023
Health care workers among thousands of striking public sector workers in Quebec
“Among other groups, the Common Front represents the majority of elementary and secondary school teachers in Quebec through the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSQ). In healthcare institutions, it also represents orderlies… as well as technicians and health and social service workers through the APTS. It also represents tens of thousands of support staff in schools and health care (420,000 members… Right now, the mandate we have could be an unlimited general strike somewhere in December, if things don’t progress. But we’re continuing. The only thing we agree on with the government is that we want a settlement by the holidays,” said François Enault, vice president of CSN, to CTV News, November 20, 2023
NDP keeps eye on the pharmacare prize
“(Jagmeet Singh) said, ‘how do we keep on using the power we have a minority government?’. . .It was a strong hint that, despite the looming pharmacare deadline (end of 2023), Singh is still looking for a way to maintain (the) power he has with the governing Liberals,” wrote Susan Delacourt in the Toronto Star, November 17, 2023
On the other hand, is Trudeau caving to Big Pharma?
“By giving the government bulk purchasing power on behalf of 39 million Canadians, pharmacare would slash drug prices, saving Canadians billions of dollars a year, according to countless studies and to the federal government’s own advisory council, chaired by former Ontario Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins… Pharmacare would increase Canadian government spending by the equivalent of about one-third of one percentage point of GDP… First promised by the Liberals six years ago, universal pharmacare has been fiercely opposed by insurance companies and Big Pharma,” wrote Linda McQuaig, freelance columnist, in the Toronto Star, November 16, 2023
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Pharmacists ‘forgotten’ in Newfoundland-Labrador health care recruitment
“Pharmacists and pharmacy staff, such as technicians and assistants across (Newfoundland & Labrador) are noticing that their workload is increasing, and this increases risk for burnout. . . I’ve spoken personally with many pharmacists who have been trained in other areas of the world, who are living in Newfoundland and Labrador right now and want to work here. But the path to that is very convoluted . . .In other provinces, such as Nova Scotia, we see them starting to streamline this process for international pharmacy graduates. That could deter someone from coming to Newfoundland and Labrador. . .For many people across the province, their pharmacy is the sole health-care hub in their community and, as we know, there are issues with lack of primary care right now,” said Kara O’Keefe, the only pharmacist on Bell Island, NL, to CBC News, November 21, 2023
First Nations adults with disabilities living on reserve lack equal access to services
“Though all First Nations adults with disabilities in Manitoba are eligible to receive assistance through the provincially operated Community Living Disability Services program, those living on reserve are not . . .Existing services for First Nations adults with disabilities living on reserve are ‘substantially underfunded, under-resourced and understaffed, leaving their basic needs neglected and often forcing families to disconnect from their home communities,’” stated the report, “Supporting the Gifts of First Nations Adults Living with Exceptionalities,” by the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba, CBC News, November 16, 2023
Hospital report cards: pass or fail?
“Report cards can help improve care, build understanding about the pressures and successes facing our system, and provide a valuable, and often neglected proof of areas of success. They can do this by harnessing the intelligence and good-will of those working in our system… Report card day is always a cause for anxiety – but it is also a day to celebrate accomplishments – and a call to improve. Let’s bring them back,” said doctors Adalsteinn Brown, Dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, and Kevin Smith, president and CEO, University Health Network and University of Toronto faculty member, in The Toronto Star, November 18, 2023