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ER professionals urge province to reverse public health cuts

A hundred emergency room professionals have signed their name to a letter calling for the Ford government to reverse cuts to public health.

Dr. Raghu Venugopal, an ER doctor at Toronto General, was joined by Board of Health Chair Joe Cressy ahead of the Board of Health committee meeting and released the open letter to the province.

The letter directly addresses the effect this funding cut would have on the opioid crisis and says, last month alone, paramedics responded to 188 suspected overdoses in which seven patients died.
Emergency room personnel also urged the provincial government to reinstate funding for public health immediately and recommend engaging with public health officials to develop solutions to strengthen Ontario’s health system.

The letter also addresses cuts to diabetes prevention programs, saying, “preventing diabetes is more cost-effective than treating diabetic complications and has a tremendously positive impact on quality of life.”

Venugopal said that the problem with these cuts is the trickle down effect that end up impacting emergency rooms.

Ford announced back on August 19 that the province would be moving ahead with some of its controversial municipal funding cuts for public health next year.

The province said they have asked the City of Toronto to provide $4.3 million more towards the public health budget in 2020 in order to keep funding levels the same as 2019.

The new plan will see all municipalities – including Toronto – pay 30 per cent of public health care costs. Under the initial plan, Toronto would have been on the hook for 50 per cent of the cost.

The change to a 70-30 cost-sharing funding model will happen on Jan 1, 2020, but, in order to “help protect municipal budgets,” the province will be putting a 10 per cent cap on increases to public health costs in the first year. -CINEWS

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