January 18, 2023 5:00am
The CEO of the Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance says most people would agree that improving access where there are excessive wait times in critical care is positive.
Andrew Williams added, there’s still a lot to be understood about Premier Ford’s announcement on January 16 around increasing the volumes of services that are available in independent health facilities.
“So we’re going to work closely with Ontario Health and the Ministry to understand what that means for the people that we serve and for the services that we offer. One of the areas that we’re going to focus on is HR capacity and our ability to sustain significant expanses in surgical activity with the resources that we have,” Williams explained.
He added, they want to make sure they don’t undermine other parts of the system by doing that.
Williams also pointed out, the most urgent issue right now is they do not have enough people in the system to support all of the roles that they have, so if they add a new, net demand on staff, that could possibly encourage some people to leave the system.
“We just need to go into this conversation with our eyes open, make sure that if there are potential consequences of that, we know what they are and we have a serious conversation about them and understand them before we go down this road,” said Williams.
William added, improving access, including access to high quality service, still has to be a priority for everyone in the system, and they’re going to work closely with other organizations, like Ontario Health and the Ministry, to make sure that happens.
Williams said he sees the government’s announcement as one piece of the puzzle.
“One of the things that we’ve talked about with the government is if we have capacity in our hospitals, let’s also focus there on increasing services. So we would hope that in these conversations about improving access, building on existing capacity in existing public hospitals will also be an option,” Williams added.
Also, Williams pointed out the independent health facilities tend to operate in large urban centres where there’s a higher population.
Williams also said he expects that because the clinics are not private delivery-private pay, but are private delivery-public pay, the organizations would be held accountable for the same rules that the public system is, and it’s very important to make sure that the playing field is the same. Williams said that’s because if it isn’t, then you could potentially see staff moving between the various providers, and that would have a significant impact on a smaller organization such as theirs.