Archive | Health & Fitness

Cuts to flu season surge funding will make hallway medicine worse

Posted on 10 October 2018 by admin

QUEEN’S PARK — Overcrowded hospitals across the province are being asked to handle this year’s flu surge with fewer resources than last year, and the Ford government continues to signal that deep cuts are coming to Ontario’s health care system.

This week, the Ford government announced flu surge funding that falls $10 million short of funding from the previous year, despite increased pressure on hospitals across the province.

During question period on Thursday, Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath said that the shortfall – and Ford’s total lack of action on creating new permanent beds – is threatening to make things even worse at hospitals that were already struggling badly under Kathleen Wynne.

“For patients worried about whether a hospital bed will be there when they need it, this government’s approach to health care is concerning,” said Horwath. “Warning hospitals that lean financial times are coming is a warning that says ‘get ready for even more cuts.’”

Last year’s flu-season funding from Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals in October 2017 was $100 million. It was far too little, and only provided temporary beds. Now the Ford Tories are promising $10 million less, and trying to make it sound like a good thing.

“You can’t invest less in 2018 and expect things to be better for patients than they were in 2017,” said Horwath.

Today, asked about long-term solutions at Queen’s Park, the health minister talked about further cuts instead of more help for hospitals and patients.

“We’ve got to look under every stone and find out where we can find those savings,” said Christine Elliott of the health care system, echoing earlier warnings from Finance Minister Vic Fedeli that Ontarians will be asked to “make sacrifices” when it comes to public spending.

“‘Modernization,’ ‘transformation,’ and ‘efficiencies’ are the same words that the Liberal government used to cut our hospitals and our health care system,” said Horwath.

“People remember what happened the last time Conservatives controlled hospitals in Ontario. 6,000 nurses were fired as the Conservative premier compared them to outdated hula hoops. 28 hospitals were shuttered all over the province, closing 7,000 hospital beds. Ontarians deserve better. We have to do better.”

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500,000 Dollarama toys recalled after dangerous chemicals found

Posted on 15 August 2018 by admin

Health Canada is recalling thousands of toys sold at Dollarama that contain higher levels of phthalates than allowed.

The recall applies to 516,125 “Skip Ball” toys sold at the stores across Canada between January 2012 and July 2018.

The toys are made of a pink ankle loop, which is attached to a plastic cord and ball. It has the product number 14-1401338, which can be found on the toy’s packaging.

So far, Health Canada has not received any complaints or reported injuries related to the products, which were manufactured in China.

But the health agency says it is concerned about the high levels of phthalates, six chemicals (DEHP, DINP, DBP, BBP, DNOP and DIDP) that are found in plastic products.

Use of the chemicals was restricted in Canada in December 2010 for children’s toys and other baby products such as bibs and teethers.

“These regulations will help ensure that children’s toys and child care articles imported, sold or advertised in Canada do not present a risk of phthalate exposure to young children,” Health Canada’s website explains.

The website adds exposure to the chemicals maybe cause reproductive and development abnormalities in young children when toys are sucked or chewed for “extended periods.”

Health Canada is urging consumers with these toys at home to keep them away from children, throw them out or return them to the store where they were purchased.

Those with questions can contact Dollarama directly at 1-888-755-1006, extension 1000.

The agency warns that selling or giving away products prohibited by Health Canada, such as these toys that exceed chemical limits, is prohibited.


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Ontario Tories’ point man on health care wants more innovation

Posted on 20 June 2018 by admin

The Progressive Conservatives point man on health care doesn’t buy that the appetite for health services and resources is insatiable.

“There is a concept that demand for health care is infinite. That’s not true. It’s not infinite. It’s just that we are so far behind it looks infinite,” Dr. Rueben Devlin said.

As a member of Premier-designate Doug Ford’s transition team and his top adviser on health policy, it’s Devlin’s job to not only help the system meet current demand, but also to transform it so it is prepared for a doubling of the senior population in two decades.

In an interview given just days before Ford won the election, Devlin, former president of the Ontario PC Party, described his vision for the future of health care in Ontario. He clarified that his opinions are only advice.

Meeting the needs of a growing and aging population — and one with an increasing number of dementia patients — starts with having a long-term vision, Devlin explained.

He said the Progressive Conservative vision places an emphasis on: making more health care available outside of hospitals; improving integration as patients move from hospital to home and throughout the rest of the health system; increasing innovation and making better use of technology; and improving access to patient records.

Told that sounds a lot like the vision of previous governments, Devlin said the Tories would do a much better job of implementing it.

What distinguishes the Progressive Conservatives from other parties, Devlin said, is that they have the “political will to modernize our system by creating real integrated care.”

As well, they have experience in developing “the hospital of tomorrow,” he added.

For 17 years, until the end of 2016, Devlin was president of Humber River Hospital. During that time, he oversaw a massive redevelopment, which transformed the hospital into what he describes as one of the most technologically advanced on the continent.

Devlin said Ford tapped him to be his health care adviser because of his track record at Humber. The former orthopedic surgeon said he focused on making Humber a leader in delivering “patient and family centred care” by having high standards in quality, safety, efficiency and customer service.

“That is what a Doug Ford government would like to make happen for the province,” Devlin said.

Devlin and Ford also share a strong personal connection. When Ford’s younger brother — the late Toronto mayor Rob Ford — became ill, it was to Humber he went. Devlin helped Doug stickhandle the media throughout the ordeal. It was Devlin who revealed to reporters that Rob had a tumour.

Key to long-term planning is ensuring that the many health care sectors have sufficient capacity and long-term stable funding, Devlin said, echoing a request of hospitals, long-term care homes and home-care agencies. Getting the capacity balance right between these different sectors is how scarce health dollars are used wisely, he noted.

Devlin acknowledged that the next government would have to hit the ground running in addressing the problem of “hallway medicine.” Overcrowded hospitals are a well-known symptom of an out-of-balance health system.

Too many elderly patients are stuck in hospitals, even though they no longer require acute care, because there is not enough home care, community care and long-term care.

Devlin said Ford’s election platform — which include more long-term care beds, mental health services and dental services for seniors — will help take pressure off hospitals.

He said he also liked solutions to hallway medicine, proposed by health-care leaders, in a recent Star feature. He repeatedly echoed a line from that story by Dr. Danielle Martin, vice-president of Women’s College Hospital, who said Ontario’s health system is built upon a “20th-century model” and requires “21st-century solutions” to work better.

Devlin said he likes “reactivation centres,” which are a new model of care the province began using last winter. These are facilities into which frail, elderly patients can move when they no longer need hospital care. They get rehab there and some do so well that they no longer need long-term care.

Devlin said supportive housing and earlier interventions for people with mental health and addictions problems can also help prevent trips to the emergency department.

“I hope that maybe I surprised you by how progressive we are with our health care policy,” he said.


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Posted on 17 May 2018 by admin

Premier Wynne Highlights Hiring Commitment during National Nursing Week

TORONTO — A re-elected Liberal government would add 3,500 more nurses to Ontario’s health care system this year, delivering better care for people at home and in the community.

Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement today at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, where she toured an oncology unit. The Premier was taking part in the Registered Nurses’ of Ontario Association’s “Take Your Politician to Work Day” during National Nursing Week.

In the 2018 Budget, Ontario Liberals boosted hospital funding by 4.6 percent, or $822 million, this year to help ensure Ontario’s nurses have the resources they need to improve access to care and better serve patients across the province. The Liberals also committed to reaching a provincial average of four hours of care for seniors in long-term care homes, beginning with hiring one additional registered nurses for each of the province’s 627 long-term care homes.

Taken together, the Liberals are hiring 3,500 nurses this year across the health system, including 2,500 nurses in hospital settings, with a priority on hiring registered nurses.

A re-elected Liberal government is also committed to:

•          Continuing to work with nursing and health system partners to ensure nursing vacancies are filled quickly and full-time work is prioritized.

•          Continuing to make health care settings safe for patients and health care providers by implementing the recommendations of the Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care Leadership Table.

•          Developing a health workforce planning strategy and ensure health care providers have a seat at the table.

 The Doug Ford Conservatives will cut billons from the services people depend on — like health care, education and transit – while rewarding the rich with unnecessary corporate tax cuts. The NDP have no plan to strengthen Ontario’s economy – which supports the services people depend on – and they would slam businesses with a huge tax hike. Only the Ontario Liberals will build a stronger economy that supports strong public services.

The Liberal plan expands publicly funded prescription drugs to one in two people in Ontario, makes the largest mental health care investment in Canadian history, builds a record amount of transit, boosts hospital funding, helps more people go to college or university with publicly funded tuition and lets more parents go back to work by funding preschool child care from 2 ½ to kindergarten. Ontario’s economy is the strongest it has been in two decades, but that growth and the care and services it funds are at risk this election.


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The Case for a National Pharmacare Program in Canada

Posted on 26 April 2018 by admin

By Sonia Sidhu, Member of Parliament for Brampton South

In 1921, it was a Canadian who discovered insulin, but a century later, it is Canadians who cannot afford the insulin they need. Before being elected to represent Brampton South, I worked in health care for a long time, and I worked as a diabetes educator for 13 years. As someone who has been engaged with the Canadian healthcare system in the past, I know too well the importance, and lifesaving capabilities, of prescription drugs. Unfortunately, 23% of Canadians reported in a 2015 Angus Reid Survey that someone in their household failed to take their prescription medications as prescribed in the last twelve months, because of the cost. Ten per cent of uninsured Canadians do not fill their drug prescriptions because they cannot afford them. The Liberal Party of Canada is even talking about it on a national policy level. Just last weekend it was rated the number one prioritized resolution at their 2018 National Liberal Convention.

I sit on the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, and we have recently concluded and presented 2 years’ worth of consultations, witnesses, and written submissions on the topic of a national Pharmacare plan – a single payer system of public insurance coverage for prescription drugs. It is important to me that we make necessary drugs more affordable, and I believe that the solution we found, to expand the Canadian Health Act (CHA) to also require coverage of out of hospital drugs, is the best way to do it. I am very proud of this report, and believe that it is comprehensive, and can provide a permanent solution to many problems in Canada’s current healthcare system. This action would not be unprecedented, given that although the CHA does not currently require provinces and territories to cover drugs provided out-of-hospital, the provinces and territories do provide some degree of public drug coverage, usually targeted to those with the highest ratio of drug costs to income.

Despite the many benefits to Canada’s healthcare system, there are some ways in which we fall behind; drug prices in Canada are amongst the highest in the world. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), the expected expenditures on all drugs dispensed outside of hospitals in 2017 is $39.8 billion. That means that on average, Canadians spend about $1,086 per year on drugs that they need to live their life to the fullest.

I also Chair the All Party Diabetes Caucus, where we work on supporting Canadians who live with diabetes with concrete action on Parliament Hill. Last year, I went on a national tour and held consultations on healthy eating and diabetes. I heard from Canadians living with diabetes from coast to coast who overwhelmingly expressed the need for more accessible treatments. A national Pharmacare program would provide that support, and our report is the first step for the national framework.

In the past, we have seen incremental and incomplete solutions to the issue of Pharmacare. Currently, 43% of out-of-hospital drug expenses are payed for by public insurance, though 22% is still out of pocket. This spending comes from various places, but includes many targeted programs, such as those for First Nations, Inuit, veterans, and federal inmates, as well as provincial programs such as catastrophic prescription drug coverage, which protects residents from drug expenses that would threaten their financial security. These targeted programs, despite providing needed services, are inefficient, and fail to provide coverage for many who need it, as well as being unable to effectively control drug costs for Canadians.

No Canadian should ever be without the medication they need to ensure the standard of life that we expect from this country. Despite the health care we currently enjoy, too many Canadians have to suffer without the prescription drugs they need simply because they cannot afford them. The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) estimated that establishing a national Pharmacare program would increase drug consumption by 12.5%. Our recommendations will ensure that Canadians are able to access the health care that they deserve, and that reflects the values of our country.

Sonia Sidhu is the Member of Parliament for Brampton South. She was elected on October 19, 2015 in a wave of hope, inclusivity, and positivity across the country. She sits on the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Health, and also was appointed to sit as a member of the Special Committee on Pay Equity. She has a passion for diabetes awareness and prevention which she champions as the Chair of the All -Party Diabetes Caucus. MP Sidhu is also the General-Secretary of the Canada-India Parliamentary Friendship Group and an executive member of both the Canada-Poland and Canada-Portugal Parliamentary Friendship Groups.  She further sits as a member of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association, the Canada-U.S. Inter-Parliamentary Group, and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.


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Investment of $2.4 Billion in Life-Saving Care for Children

Posted on 28 March 2018 by admin

Ontario’s Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is already one of the world’s largest and most respected pediatric hospitals. It has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of children and their families across Ontario. To make sure SickKids can continue to provide the most advanced, compassionate care to children from all over Ontario, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced today that the upcoming provincial Budget will support a new Patient Care Centre at SickKids.

The Premier was joined at SickKids today by Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance, and Dr. Helena Jaczek, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, to explain how Ontario’s investment will provide leading care for the youngest patients from all across the province.

Investing in new hospitals and the best in children’s health care is part of the government’s plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 and everyone 65 and over through OHIP+, the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

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First time ever, for the Islamic community in Canada, Stop Diabetes Foundation alongside Diabetes Canada launches the Ramadan Position Statement

Posted on 15 March 2018 by admin

VISION 2020 – Peel Region holds the unfortunate distinction of being the “Diabetes capital of Canada”. STOP Diabetes foundation’s (SDF) mission termed ‘SDF VISION 2020’ aims to remove this infamous #1 tag before the year 2020 by providing public health education. In addition to the mission of diabetes prevention, the foundation’s second goal is to increase the longevity for people living with diabetes by highlighting a combination of medically proven treatments and lifestyle regimen.

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018 marks another big milestone in Stop Diabetes Foundation’s timeline to reduce the epidemic of diabetes and its complications not only in the Peel region but to spread this message across Canada. On this day, SDF, in collaboration with Diabetes Canada, will launch the first-ever Canadian Ramadan Position Statement (RPS) to spread awareness and educate healthcare providers as well as the public. RPS are research-based practical guidelines developed to help people with diabetes fast safely during Ramadan. The RPS has been developed with the consensus of Canadian diabetes specialists, researchers as well as religious leaders. The plan is to have this position statement endorsed by Diabetes Canada and submitted for publication in a Canadian Medical Journal before Ramadan starts in the middle of May 2018.

Type 2 diabetes is a growing epidemic, especially in certain immigrant populations in Canada e.g. people with origins from South Asian and Middle-East Asian countries. According to national statistics, the Muslim population in Canada is steadily growing, in part fueled by immigration and higher fertility rates. One of the pillars of Islam is fasting during the month of Ramadan (from dawn to dusk). Though certain individuals are exempted from fasting (e.g. pre-pubertal children and those who are ill, pregnant or breastfeeding), many of those who fall under these categories often opt to still follow the practice. Management of diabetes (type 1 and type 2 diabetes) during Ramadan is challenging for Canadian healthcare providers because of limited research data and education around this topic. The launch of this first Canadian Ramadan position statement will potentially overcome this huge unmet need and knowledge gap.

The Canadian Ramadan Position Statement initiative will be launched at a high-level media & healthcare professional event on March 20, 2018, from 6 PM to 8 PM at Mississauga Convention center. This event will be organized by STOP Diabetes Foundation Inc. The program agenda will include Q & A style interactive engagements with the Canadian expert faculty involved with this project (Dr. Harpreet Bajaj, Dr. Tyceer Abouhassan, Dr. Amel Arnaout, Dr. Tayyab Khan, Dr. Hasnain Khandwala and Dr. Subodh Verma); Diabetes Canada scientific leaders (Dr. Jan Hux and Dr. Peter Senior), several religious leaders, community leaders and Dr. Hisham Mahmoud (Sanofi Canada). Dr. Mohamed Hassanein, chair of the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes and Ramadan alliance will also support this Canadian initiative via video conferencing from Dubai.

STOP Diabetes foundation looks forward to the support of local community as well as media in this benevolent cause to succeed in its fight against these important health concerns afflicting our country, and the PEEL region disproportionately and motivate everyone to live healthy and long lives.

For more information contact 647-986-7867 or

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Ontario families need true, universal pharmacare now: NDP Health critic

Posted on 07 March 2018 by admin

QUEEN’S PARK: NDP Health critic France Gélinas said that Ontario families can’t afford to wait for another federal study before they get the medicine that they need and called on the Wynne government to put Ontario first and support the NDP plan for true, universal pharmacare now.

“It’s time for national, universal pharmacare — but yesterday, the federal government chose to study this idea, again, without promising any action, any money, or any timelines,” said Gélinas. “That leaves millions of Ontarians between the ages of 25 and 65 without prescription drug coverage. That leaves people sitting at their kitchen tables, cutting their pills two to make the prescription last longer.”

The NDP Pharmacare for Everyone Plan would deliver true, universal pharmacare for all Ontarians so that both parents and their children can get the medications that they need. The NDP plan would cover everyone, regardless of age, income, job status or health status.

In question period on Wednesday, Gélinas said that Ontario families can’t wait for the federal government to act, and that Kathleen Wynne’s plan to cut people off from drug coverage when they turn 25 is letting families down.

“A drug plan that cuts people off from drug coverage the day they turn 25 years old is not good enough,” said Gélinas. “Ontarians shouldn’t have to settle for a plan that leaves people from the ages of 25 to 65 with no prescription drug coverage. That’s not pharmacare — because real universal pharmacare is prescription drug coverage for everyone.”

“While the federal government continues to study pharmacare yet again, instead of acting upon it, why doesn’t this Premier have a plan for universal pharmacare right here, right now in Ontario?” asked Gélinas.


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Horwath demands Wynne listen to health care workers speaking out

Posted on 02 February 2018 by admin

HAMILTON – News reports Wednesday reveal that a number of doctors, nurses and administrators are speaking out about dangerous hospital overcrowding in the Greater Toronto Area. Andrea Horwath, who has been raising alarm bells about growing hospital overcrowding concerns for over a year, released the following statement in response:

“Doctors and front-line health care workers are speaking out about the dangerous situations in overcrowded hospitals, and it’s time for leadership that listens to them, and takes action. Many of our hospitals were operating above 100 per cent capacity before this winter’s flu surge – so news again this morning that more hospitals are in crisis as a result of flu-season is troubling, but not at all surprising. It’s just plain wrong that no real action has been taken to ease the squeeze on Ontario’s hospitals, putting patients at risk.

Ontario’s hospitals have faced decades of cuts – first by a Conservative government that closed 28 hospitals and fired 6,000 nurses, and then by a Liberal government that has cut or frozen budgets for years. Patients around the province, doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, the Ontario Hospital Association and the NDP and I have all been calling out for the government to listen, and make changes. But Kathleen Wynne let us down again. Long waits, overcrowding and hallway medicine have been getting worse and worse – even as hospital staff were warning that they didn’t have the resources to handle this year’s flu season.

It’s time to do something about health care overcrowding – and that means making health care funding a priority in Ontario again. Wynne’s budgets keep underfunding hospitals, and Patrick Brown is vowing to make $6.1 billion in cuts. I disagree – we can’t keep going down that road. Instead of cuts, we need to invest in shorter waits and tackling hallway medicine.

My thanks go out to the health care workers around the province who are on the front-lines of this crisis, working long hours in busy hospitals and doing everything they can do deliver the care that people deserve in Ontario.


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Listen to the experts, stop ignoring hospital overcrowding crisis

Posted on 22 December 2017 by admin

Horwath releases new overcrowding information for Hamilton hospital

QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has been fighting to end hospital overcrowding in communities all over the province for months. On Wednesday, Horwath demanded again that Kathleen Wynne take action, just as Ontario’s Hospitals weighed in, saying that they are facing an “imminent capacity crisis.”

“Kathleen Wynne has ignored the experts repeatedly when it comes to hospital care,” said Horwath. “She refuses to listen to patients and their families. She refuses to listen to doctors, nurses and front-line health care workers. And now she’s refusing to listen to the Ontario Hospital Association. This is about patients waiting in agony, treatments being delayed and people having their health and dignity impacted by hallway medicine. This is about people’s lives. We can’t let Kathleen Wynne let us down again.”

As she has done repeatedly throughout the year, Horwath released the overcrowding numbers from yet another hospital Wednesday. Obtained via Freedom of Information laws, Horwath revealed that St. Joseph’s Health Care Hamilton was over 105 per cent occupancy every single day between June and October, reaching a high of 139 per cent. That means as many as 34 unfunded beds every day, and patients being left in spaces that don’t have access to proper washrooms or nurse call bells.

According to the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA), a substantial investment is needed to fix the crisis. The OHA released a budget submission Wednesday called A Sector on the Brink: The Case for a Significant investment in Ontario’s Hospitals.

“We know that there are already thousands of patients lining the hallways of our hospitals all across this province – and the OHA is saying that without a major investment – a major course change from the years of cuts – it will only get worse,” said Horwath.

Patrick Brown’s campaign platform vows to cut another $6.1 billion in jobs and services, and includes no investment into easing hospital overcrowding. The last Conservative government fired 6,000 nurses and closed 28 hospitals.

Horwath has committed to fund hospitals, at a minimum, to the rate of inflation, population growth and to meet the unique needs of the community around the hospital.

“Hospitals are in bad shape and patients are hurting, but it doesn’t have to be this way,” said Horwath. “We can do so much better, and families deserve to have some hope. It’s time for a premier that is focused on ending the gridlock and cutting wait times for everyone.”


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