Healthy living can save your life
The world has a serious shortage of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, doctors, therapists, dentists and other health professionals.
In Ontario, more than half of doctors and registered nurses are over 65, and more than 30 per cent are retired.
The province has one of the highest infant and child mortality rates in the country, and nearly one in four of its doctors and nurses are under the age of 65.
As the aging population increases, Ontario’s healthcare system will need to evolve.
Health and Wellness Canada is developing the Ontario Healthcare Transformation Plan, which aims to transform the province’s aging health system to meet the needs of Canadians over the next decade.
Health and Wellingcare will work with provincial governments, health associations and stakeholders to develop the plan, which will be presented to Ontario’s Parliament later this year.
“Health and well-being is a critical issue for Ontarians,” said Elizabeth McKeown, minister of health.
“It’s one of those things that people are passionate about, and it’s important to address it and ensure it’s in our province’s best interest.”
Health Minister Jennifer Stoddart says the plan will provide the health system with more trained and experienced professionals, more money for programs and services, and support for communities in the transition.
“We have a plan that will bring together all the stakeholders, to provide the resources, support and expertise to help Ontarians through this transition,” she said.
Stoddart said the province is working with stakeholders to identify priorities, and develop a plan by the end of the year.
The province will work to develop a strategy for the transition, with the help of the private sector, the provincial auditor general, and the chief medical officer of health, she said, adding the plan is expected to be completed by mid-year.
McKeown said the Ontario Health Transformation Plan will not just provide money for health care in the province, but will also focus on improving the quality of health care and ensuring that Ontarians can access the care they need.
There will be some “sophisticated” initiatives, such as better screening and more preventive measures, she added.
For now, the province will focus on the Ontario Hospital Fund, a trust fund for public hospitals, including a new $1.5 billion trust fund to be funded by new taxes, to help support the creation of new hospital beds, she explained.
Currently, the trust fund provides funding for a small number of public hospitals.
To help people make decisions about their health, Stoddamie said the government is also working to develop an Ontario-wide data platform for people to track their health and to make better use of health information.
This platform will be a collaboration with Ontarians, as well as with other jurisdictions, to make sure that Ontarian information is used by other provinces and the country.
In the meantime, Stodawan says the province has invested more than $1 billion to help build and renovate public hospitals over the last decade.