LETTER:Healthcare in Ontario is “truly a desperate situation”

Health Care in Ontario is collapsing and the Ford government doesn’t care.

In August 2022, my family doctor retired. He informed me that he was unable to find a replacement physician for me anywhere in Prince Edward County. As a result, I was forced to search for a new physician to take me on as a patient outside this area. My wife and I drove from Brighton to Kingston trying to find a doctor who would accept new patients. We couldn’t find a single doctor who would accept me as a new patient. I have multiple health issues which require on-going monitoring and care. I require frequent lab tests and sometimes referrals to specialists, as well as  renewals of medications.

None of these are available without the signature of a doctor.  Finally, in desperation, I wrote to the Minister of Health for assistance. No response was received.

Next I tried to contact the Ministry of Health for Ontario, again no reply. Finally, I contacted Todd Smith’s office to see if he could help. I did get a response from one of MPP Smiths’s office staff. The reply chiefly dealt with the wonderful work the government is doing to improve health care in Ontario. I was advised to go to a walk-in clinic to obtain a doctor’s care.

When I arrived at the Great Lakes Clinic in Trenton, I was informed there would be a one and a half to two hour wait. This seemed reasonable as hospital wait times can be as long as twelve to sixteen hours or even longer. The nurse at the clinic agreed that I could leave and return later as the waiting room was full and there were people waiting in cars outside to see the doctor as well.

When I returned two hours later, there were still four people in line ahead of me. I sat down and waited with the others while the nurse and doctor did all they could to accommodate the crowd. During the wait time, people kept pouring into the waiting room. Like many hospitals and clinics now,  the doctor was overwhelmed by numbers. While waiting, the patients discussed horror stories of impossible wait times at hospitals, inability to access required medication, and failure to find a family doctor.

This is truly a desperate situation. Doug Ford, Health Minister Jones, and Todd Smith’s office continue to crow about their achievements in meeting Ontario’s Health Care needs while the sick and injured wait entire days for treatment in hospitals, or go to overcrowded clinics with overworked doctors and nurses who can only deal with one problem at a time. The sign in the waiting room said “only one issue at a time.” I guess if you sprain both ankles you can at least get one looked after.

This is not the fault of the hard-working medical staff, the indifference of the government to the suffering of Ontarians is the root cause of this dehumanizing, dangerous, and on-going situation.

Rod Holloway