Be sure to make healthcare an election issue!

Posted on September 12, 2011

It’s that time again – ELECTION TIME! Yes, I know it seems like we just had an election – and we did, the federal election in May, however it is now provincial election time. The province is the level of government that is most responsible for healthcare. From what I’ve seen and heard so far, healthcare doesn’t seem to be foremost on any of the political leaders’ or candidates’ agenda.
 How can you influence the shape of healthcare in this province?   Now is your opportunity, make sure that your local political candidates and their party leaders know what is important to you!
I know that the HST and the economy affects everyone too, however I believe that healthcare should be one of the major issues in any election.  Elections and changes in government can have a huge impact on healthcare funding and policy so it is important to know the healthcare platform of each of the political parties, as well as understanding how each candidate in your riding feels about healthcare issues that are important to you.
I acknowledge that I am biased, and that community based healthcare is more important to me, because I have worked in it for over 20 years. That’s not to say that I don’t understand, and agree that all parts of the healthcare system are vital components, from promotion and prevention to long term care and hospital programs, to ensure a healthy population. I just think that what I have heard throughout my career is that people want to stay at home whenever possible, which means a focus on community based services. What’s important to you to have in your local healthcare system, what do you and your family need?
What can YOU do? Attend all-candidates meetings, ask the candidates questions, or tell them how you feel about healthcare services when they come to your door. Write letters, or emails to your local candidates, and their political leaders asking their position, and telling them what is important to you to have in your local health system, what services you want. VOTE – tell all your friends and relatives to VOTE, and share your issues and questions with them, and encourage them to share.
Here are some sample questions, have them by your door, by your phone and be sure to ask them of any candidates you encounter. Share their answers with your friends and relatives. 
How will you ensure that all Londoners (or whatever your local community is e.g. in Elgin County) have access to the full range of high quality, cost effective health care services?
How will you ensure that healthcare system planning is done at the local level so our individual and family’s needs here are met?
Which healthcare services do you think need to be maintained, and expanded over the next 5 years?
As much as possible people want to stay in their homes – how will you ensure that there is adequate funding to provide community based healthcare supports?
All we ever hear about are wait times, and emergency room back ups, I think that XXXX(your opinion) service is more important. How will you (your party) be sure that we are able to maintain that service here?
What investments would you (your party) make in our local healthcare system? How will you sustain the services we already have?
What is your position on for-profit delivery of healthcare and public/private partnerships in healthcare?
What is your party’s vision for healthcare over the next 5 years?
Between now and October 6th, become informed and VOTE. It is also possible to vote now, early, by contacting Elections Ontario.