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London Health Coalition fights to stop privatization of health care with new campaign

A doctor is seen in this file photo. (Pexels) A doctor is seen in this file photo. (Pexels)

On Wednesday evening the London Health Coalition (LHC) held a virtual emergency summit on how to stop the privatization of health care in Ontario.

According to the LHC, the Ford government is putting funds into for-profit health care which it believes won’t help the current system, as health care workers suffer burnout and staffing shortages.

The LHC operates as a non-partisan public watchdog for the health care system.

Its goal is to “protect and improve our vital public health care services and stop the unprecedented for-profit privatization of health care.”

“Today Ontario is facing an existential threat,” said Peter Begmanis the co-chair of the LHC.

“The Ford government is looking to expand U.S. style health care into Ontario. We are under threat to the introduction of for-profit hospitals. A legacy of the past which we thought we had abandoned in the 1970s.”

According to a news release by the LHC, “Health Minister Christine Elliott announced plans to expand private for-profit clinics and hospitals in Ontario.”

“COVID-19 testing and vaccination have been privatized and handed off to for-profit corporations,” Begmanis said. “Private system favours money over need.”

A spokesperson for Elliott and the Ministry of Health denies the allegations by the LHC.

"These claims are categorically false," said Chelsea Tucker in a statement Thursday. "The use or function of private hospitals and independent health facilities in Ontario is not being expanded or changed," she said.

During the summit, Dr. Nancy Olivieri, a hematologist and researcher spoke about a time in February when she said Health Minister Christine Elliott announced the expansion of private hospitals. “Private hospitals are associated with worse care higher costs and more deaths,” she said.

Olivieri said Ford has expressed plans to expand independent health facilities in order to help clear backlogs, something that the LHC doesn't believe will help with the thousands of patients awaiting surgery, as more health care workers are needed to help.

Olivieri suggested the province should begin investing in staff members at health care facilities.

"There are thousands of vacant nursing positions and what is driving health care workers out of the system is Bill 124," said Maureen O'Halloran, a registered nurse. "The bill prevents heath care workers from negotiating more than 1 percent total compensation for the next three years."

Bill 124 is one of several reasons members gave as to why there is a chronic shortage of health care workers in Ontario and the pandemic pushing employees to leave.

The LHC is coordinating a public campaign called ‘Fightback Against Health Care Privatization in Ontario’ in an effort to improve Ontario’s public health care services and put a stop to privatization. Top Stories

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