Weekly Top Stories: Ontario Approves Private Clinics Expansion Despite Concerns; and Former Mental Health and Addictions Minister Carolyn Bennett to Become Canada's Ambassador to Denmark

Published on
January 22, 2024
Written by
Delphic Research
Read time
5 min

This week, we will gain more insight into the ongoing concerns around emergency wait times in relation to staffing shortages all over the country.

One of the hottest stories is when the Ontario government announced that it would begin its controversial plan for private clinics to solve the issue of patient wait times by approving additional privately owned clinics for services like CT scans, MRIs, and hip and knee replacements. Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones announced that clinic applications will be accepted in the spring, prioritizing areas with lengthy wait lists. To address care quality concerns, the clinics will be overseen by Accreditation Canada, an independent organization, starting April 1.

Critics, includingLiberal MPP Adil Shamji and New Democrat MPP Peter Tabuns, argue that this exacerbates the healthcare system's capacity crisis, potentially leading to longer wait times for publicly funded healthcare.

In a broader context, in response to the Canadian Medical Association's warning about the ongoing crisis in Canada's emergency departments, CBC Senior Health & Medical Reporter Lauren Pelley published an opinion piece. Pelley asserts that the root cause of the issue is the lack of planning efforts over the last few decades and the aging population. Despite pleas from health professionals to address challenges in the healthcare system, Pelley expresses concern that these issues are not being prioritized at the provincial level.

A leaked document exposing the worst emergency department wait times in Ontario underscores the urgency of addressing these issues comprehensively, considering both immediate relief measures and long-term systemic improvements. The Trillium reveals the document, which indicates that one in 10 patients admitted to Ontario hospitals from emergency departments wait at least two days for a bed, reaching a historical high of nearly 50 hours from arrival to admission.

The report depicted some of the worst emergency department performance in the province's history, with a 6% increase in healthcare trends projected for the forthcoming year. Emergency physicians have expressed concerns about delayed access to treatments, the development of delirium, worsening chronic conditions, and increased mortality rates due to extended wait times.

While the Ontario government sparks controversy with its plan for private clinics to address patient wait times, the federal government is taking a different approach to tackle healthcare staffing shortages. Recently, they announced an investment of up to $86 million in funding for 15 organizations across Canada, aiming to accelerate the accreditation process for internationally educated health professionals (IEHP). This initiative is a response to the growing demand for qualified workers amidst labor shortages.

In addition, BioTalentCanada has introduced its National Compensation Guide, designed to assist health and biosciences employers in improving talent management strategies for enhanced recruitment and retention. The guide includes National Occupational Standards(NOS) outlining role prerequisites, base salary information, and benefits data.BioTalent Canada aims to provide essential tools and strategies for the growth of small and medium-sized organizations in the critical bio-sector of theCanadian economy.

In other news, former Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett, who served as the Mental Health and Addictions Minister from 2021 to 2023, is slated to become Canada’s next ambassador to Denmark after formally resigning from parliament, as confirmed by a senior government official.

Bennett, with along tenure representing the Toronto-St. Paul's district since 1997 and holding various ministerial positions, will take over from the current ambassador, Denis Robert. The Trudeau administration has a precedent of appointing former or current political figures to diplomatic posts, as reported by The CanadianPress.

Solving the problems with emergency wait times and staffing shortages won't be easy. But let's remember why we're doing it – to make sure people get the care they need. It's a big challenge, but our commitment to finding solutions is all about taking care of our community and making healthcare work better for everyone.

It is also possible for you to have your own personalized industry insights! Book a free consultation today with Delphic Research!

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