We need proper funding for public services

January 19, 2023

For many years, Canadians have believed that our healthcare system is amongst the best in the world. However, recent headlines tell a much more complicated story, one of alarmingly mortality rates with questions of inadequate access to services. Over 100,000 people are without a doctor in our province so we must see more action. We have witnessed emergency rooms closed for periods in many communities for a while now. Our healthcare system has undeniably suffered from long-term underfunding and mismanagement by our governments. By that, I mean we cannot continue to underfund our public services. The lack of funding and budget cuts have created today’s environment of limited resources in the system. We need to pay more attention to recruitment and retention issues. Jobs need better wages and full-time hours providing benefits.

Workers need to see jobs as career paths. We have seen too many positions become part-time or casual, essentially undervaluing those jobs for many years. Our health system must become a holistic system. Under-resourcing of health care over time has led us to where we are today. Many symptoms that the system was failing over the years didn’t get much attention when raised by our unions. They essentially went unheard when those on the frontline raised their concerns. The pandemic pushed our healthcare system to the brink and has shone a light on what many workers have been saying for a while now. The system needs fixing.

Covid issues and other things forced people to emergency rooms because they are without Doctors. Many people faced long wait times and access to everything from long-term care beds to mental health support which also suffered budget cuts and resourcing issues of people and cash. Far too many news stories concentrate on cost, it takes money, and if we want our system to work, we need to fund it. We need to build modern buildings every 25 years or sooner. We can’t let buildings fall down around us and act surprised when they do not meet our needs twenty-five or thirty years later. We need more Long Term Beds in the system, and mental health issues must play a much larger part in health care. The system needs to be built with a holistic approach to care in mind.

Too often, what we have seen in the past are governments that didn’t correctly fund infrastructure needs and frequently applied a band-aid to an issue that needed more. Treating workers in the system in ways that weren’t respecting them for what they brought to the system daily was another mistake. Today many surveys on Health Care show the need for more staff as a high priority.

There is not enough room to touch on all that has gone wrong. Still, it leaves me wondering if we learned much from the past, items like the lack of infrastructure funding over the years, the lack of treating workers with respect, having an overcrowded system, long wait lines, emergency rooms closed, lack of mental health support and hospitals with so many Long Term care patients in hospitals and not LTC homes.

If this system destabilization was a plan to destroy our world-renowned public health care system, it’s working? Under resourcing a public sector service like health care to hand it over to the for-profit sector seems like it was a goal. We need to stand up and say no to private for-profit healthcare. We had the best system in the world, and we can make it world-class again. We need decision-makers to provide the cash and to value our healthcare workers like they used to. Tell me I am crazy, but I have seen it all before, and sadly not much gets better when you govern to make your rich friends richer. There is no doubt in my mind that corporate friends are lined up at the government trough. Public services must be kept public and appropriately resourced to work. Not doing so, well, we are currently living that reality.

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