Thousands of Ontarians died waiting for healthcare last year, according to a new report.
The report from CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) found that 11,000 Ontarians died last year while on waiting lists for surgeries, CT scans and MRIs over the course of 2022.
Currently, there are over 200,000 Ontarians still on the province’s surgical waitlist.
“I’m medically burnt out. It’s a fight. I have a little son, he’s five years old, and I promised him I would be at his wedding,” said 38-year old Jordanne Bialo, an Ontario patient who has been waiting for answers and treatment after falling ill in October 2020.
“That’s why I fight – for my family. It’s a full time job. It’s a full time job to be a patient right now.” Bialo told CityNews Toronto.
Bialo said that it took three years before she received a diagnosis from a doctor about her rare genetic tumour syndrome, known as Cowden syndrome. She will require a double mastectomy, which currently has a minimum wait time of one-year.
Her experience of long wait times is becoming all too common.
“I am full of these tumours that can turn any minute – it’s like Russian roulette and I just have to continue to keep pushing,” she said.
Bialo had a hysterectomy in July, after spending a year and a half waiting to see a gynecologist. Once she was able to see a doctor, they discovered four additional tumours on her back.
“They told me I need imaging done sooner than later, I’ve been on the phone with the hospital for the last two weeks, nobody answers,” said Bialo. “I’m constantly waiting, it’s a battle,” said Bialo, who is still struggling to get an appointment for a CT scan.
The 21-page report published by the OCHU revealed that only 56% of patients who require a CT scan have received one within the necessary timeframe and the number dropped down to 35% for those who need MRIs.
Additionally, the report found a dramatic uptick in staff vacancies at hospitals, up 19% since last year with thousands of hospital positions remaining unfilled.
“We are one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the world and we can afford, and we have a moral responsibility, to provide quality care to the people of this province,” said president of the OCHU Michael Hurley.
The OCHU is demanding that Doug Ford’s administration take action and make serious investments into the province’s healthcare system.
“The government is expanding capacity across the province, getting shovels in the ground for nearly 60 hospital developments over 10 years that will add thousands of beds across the province, to connect Ontarians to the care they need now and into the future,” wrote a spokesperson for the Ontario’s Minister of Health.
The report discovered that over 2,000 people died on waiting lists for surgeries in 2022, an increase of nearly 50% from 2021. An additional 9,400 patients died awaiting MRIs and CT scans.
“The hardest part is my son, my little guy. He’s the most amazing kid in the world, and he is suffering seeing me sick,” said Bialo, who said she’s fighting with all her strength not to become part of those statistics. “I have to get better for him.”