Skip to main content

Government passes buck for private clinic infections

Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews has refused the suggestion by a health expert that the province should take on responsibility for overseeing private clinics. Her comments to the Ottawa Citizen follow the disclosure that 6,800 patients would have to be notified that faulty infection control procedures at a private clinic in Ottawa could have exposed them to HIV or hepatitis.

 Matthews said she was not planning on taking over that responsibility through her ministry, the Citizen reports. "Government can't do everything.  A professional (regulating body) like the College of Physicians and Surgeons, they take responsibility for their members."

 "At this point I am delighted the College is taking that responsibility seriously and has found a problem that we need to fix." 

The Citizen reports that roughly 270 private clinics in Ontario exist without being subject to the same sanitation and infection-control standards as hospitals.  However, following the 2007 death of a Toronto woman during a botched liposuction operation, the province ordered regular inspections of those clinics by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario beginning in September 2010.

The doctors' association, the Ontario Medical Association, has vigorously lobbied for the expansion of private clinics ("Independent Health Facilities"), and the private clinics have received large funding increases from the Liberal government over the last eight years.   

So this appears to be the story so far: the docs lobby to move surgical and diagnostics work from the hospitals, the government (quietly) agrees and lets the emerging industry skip the public oversight faced by hospitals.  Subsequently, after a death (and coroners report), the government eventually requires the industry to face some regulation -- not by the public authority, but self-regulation by the docs  (who had lobbied to expand the industry).



  1. Sounds like the fox and the old hen house story.



Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Health care funding falls, again

Real provincial government health care funding per-person has fallen again this year in Ontario, the third year in a row.  Since 2009 real funding per-person has fallen 2.6% -- $63 per person. 

Across Canada real per person funding is in its fourth consecutive year of increase. Since 2009, real provincial funding across Canada is up $89 -- 3.6%.
In fact the funding gap between Ontario and Canada as a whole has gown consistently for years (as set out below in current dollars).

Ontario funds health care less than any other province -- indeed, the province that funds health care the second least (B.C.) provides $185 more per person per year, 4.7% more.  
Provincial health care spending in the rest of Canada (excluding Ontario) is now  $574 higher per person annually than in Ontario. 

 Ontario has not always provided lower than average health care funding increases-- but that has been the general pattern since 2005.
Private expenditures on health care have exceeded Ontario government increases …

Ontario long-term care staffing falls far short of other provinces

CUPE and others are campaigning for a legislated minimum average of four worked hours of nursing and personal care per resident per day in long-term care (LTC) facilities.  New research indicates that not only is LTC underfunded in Ontario, it is also understaffed compared to the other provinces. 
LTC staffing falls short:  The latest data published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (and based on a mandatory survey undertaken by Statistics Canada) indicates that staffing at long-term care (LTC) facilities falls far short of other provinces. 
Part of this is driven by a low level of provincial funding for LTC.

Ontario has 0.575 health care full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) per bed staffed and in operation.[1]  The rest of Canada reports 0.665 health care FTEs.[2] The rest of Canada has 15.7% more health care staff per bed staffed and in operation than Ontario.[3] 

No other province reports fewer LTC health care staff per resident (or per bed) than Ontario.[4]

Occupancy r…

Six more problems with Public Private Partnerships (P3s)

The Auditor General (AG) has again identified issues in her annual reportwhich reflect problems with Ontario health care capacity and privatization.   First, here are six key problems with the maintenance of the 16 privatized P3 ("public private partnership") hospitals in Ontario:
There are long-term ongoing disputes with privatized P3 contractors over the P3 agreements, including about what is covered by the P3  (or “AFP” as the government likes to call them) contract.The hospitals are required to pay higher than reasonable rates tothe P3 contractor for  maintenance work the contractor has deemed to be outside of the P3 contract. Hospitals are almost forced to use P3 contractors to do maintenance work the contractors deem outside of the P3 contract or face the prospect of transferring the risk associated with maintaining the related hospital assets from the private-sector company back to the hospitalP3 companies with poor perf…