Ontario government must admit home care system is broken

If you are lucky, you live in a Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) region that treats patients responsibly.  A similar patient 100 kilometres away could be getting poor care.  This luck of the draw is unacceptable in a publicly funded system." — Warren (Smokey) Thomas

Toronto (25 Sept. 2015) — In a statement released on September 24, Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE), responded to the Ontario Auditor General's new report on the state of community care across the province. 

Home and community-based health care need total overhaul

“In the Auditor General’s Special Report on Community Care Access Centres, Bonnie Lysyk says the government has to take ‘a hard look’ at how home- and community-based health care and related support services are provided in Ontario," said Thomas.

"‘A hard look’ is the auditor general’s way of saying the system is broken and needs a total overhaul.  We agree. The current system cheats Ontario residents of the quality of care they deserve.  Too much money is diverted to executive paycheques and profits.  Only 61 per cent of the government’s money actually goes to face-to-face treatment of patients," he said.

Privatized services have led to more for-profit fat in home care system

"Contracting out services to third-party organizations means that a thick layer of for-profit fat, which previously did not exist, was introduced to Ontario’s home care system. The result is that patients are receiving poorer care and health care professionals are seeing good jobs destroyed," Thomas said.

OPSEU/NUPGE has first-hand experience with this in our five-month strike against CarePartners. Some of their nurses are being paid less than minimum wage.

Current patchwork system provides inconsistent levels of care depending on your region

Thomas explained that "with the current system, the level of service varies widely from region to region.  If you are lucky, you live in a Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) region that treats patients responsibly.  A similar patient 100 kilometres away could be getting poor care.  This luck of the draw is unacceptable in a publicly funded system."

"We need a transparent system that makes patients’ needs the top priority.  All service providers contracted by CCACs should be required to open their books.  Sunlight is the best disinfectant," he said. 

"It will be a big job to build a proper home care system in Ontario.  OPSEU/NUPGE members are keen to help build the best system in Canada.”

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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