PREVENTION IS NOT ON THE AGENDA
In their single-minded vision to reduce expenses the Ford government is cutting $200 million from the $1 billion public health care sector. Most of that funding is at the local and municipal level and is delivered by the Public Health Units in that community. It is the most direct level of health care service that people get and its focus for years has been on keeping people well and preventing illness.
So now local public health units are trying to figure out where they can cut 20 percent of their services to meet the funding cutbacks. Here’s the list of services they currently provide in most communities:
- harm reduction
- baby checkups
- preventing food-borne and water-borne illnesses
- emergency preparedness.
They also operate the supervised consumption sites across the province, but the Ford government has already started dismantling that service.
But back to their long list, what could possibly go wrong with cutting back on immunization? A measles outbreak? Surely, that couldn’t happen in Ontario.
The response from the Ford people has been to say that they don’t believe that public health units are going to cut these programs and Premier Doug has accused critics like Toronto Mayor John Tory of misleading the public on this issue and other cuts to things like flood management and child care.
What’s misleading is to cut money from a budget and pretend they won’t have an impact. What’s dangerous is cutting money from prevention so that they can pretend to have a fiscal cure for the province. Except that their cure may kill many of us.
Stand Up. Fight Back. Don’t Give Up.