SEIU Healthcare’s Letter to the Minister of Health

Hon. Eric Hoskins
Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
Government of Ontario
Hepburn Block, 10th Floor
80 Grosvenor St
Toronto, ON M7A1R3

RE: Support the Success of Ontario’s Long-Term Care System by Investing in its People

Dear Minister Hoskins,

On behalf of the 58,000 workers that SEIU Healthcare represents across Ontario, I am writing to you to call on the government to continue providing needed investment to a health care system that is struggling to meet the needs of a complex and aging population.

As you are aware, seniors today are the fastest growing demographic in our society, and in the next few years, we know this demographic will outgrow our youngest for the first time in history. With the increasing prevalence of dementia, our seniors require more complex care, demanding around the clock care that only Long-Term Care (LTC) homes are best equipped to provide.

During a period of fiscal restraint, the government prioritized investment into the home and community care system. This investment was, and continues to be, sorely needed to improve access to home and community services while stabilizing the PSW workforce, which has been facing a recruitment and retention crisis.

In the last budget, your government took steps to stabilize the hospital system, which had faced several years of constrained funding. This investment remains essential to ensuring that our hospitals can continue to provide the services that Ontarians expect and deserve.

SEIU Healthcare is now calling on your government to take the next step in health system reinvestment – addressing mounting challenges in LTC. The time to act is now. Action must be taken to properly address the needs of Ontarians living and working in long-term care and those waiting in hospitals for access to LTC. Not only is a long-term care home a more appropriate setting to receive care for these seniors, the $175 per day cost in a LTC home is a fraction of the $750 per day cost for seniors in a hospital.

Specifically, SEIU Healthcare recommends that the government take immediate action to:

  • Increase the number of available beds, so that more of our seniors can access long-term care
  • Increase the staff to resident ratio across the sector to account for the increasing complex nature of LTC residents
  • Increase the hours of care staff can spend providing the care residents need
  • Increase support for our current hard-working staff that will allow them to continue delivering high quality care by improving access to ongoing training opportunities and protecting in-house services

SEIU Healthcare supports the province’s need to improve health care outcomes and experience across each sector of the system. This common goal is at the heart of our request of you, Minister: that you support in our call to action a successful long-term care community that relies on the ability of our LTC workers to develop real relationships with the residents they care for instead of following blanket standardizations that may fall short in our members’ ability to respond appropriately to the needs of residents.

As you look to the future of health care in Ontario and plan for the demands that will be asked of our public system, keep in mind that our province will only be successful if the necessary supports are in place to allow the people living and working in all our health care sectors to support each other and work together, for the benefit of everyone.

Sincerely,

Sharleen Stewart
President
SEIU Healthcare

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