Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union, is calling on the Province to act immediately to reduce the surgical and diagnostic test backlog Ontario is currently facing.
With new COVID-19 cases consistently in the four-digit range, many hospitals have had to shut down all non-essential testing in order to accommodate the surge in COVID-19-related cases.
“The Ford government failed to quickly enact measures to protect Ontarians from the spread of COVID-19, such as paid sick days and priority vaccination access for essential workers,” Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor, said in a news release.
“Now the cancellation of elective surgeries and redirection of hospital resources to deal with third wave patients will cause further suffering and claim additional lives due to skyrocketing surgical and test backlogs,” he continued.
According to a recent report from the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario, the delay in procedures is anticipated to take three-and-a-half years to clear for surgeries, and three years to clear for diagnostic testing.
By September 2021, the backlog of surgeries is projected to reach 419,200 procedures, while the diagnostic backlog is projected to reach 2.5 million procedures for this same time frame.
“While there is no denying the strain that COVID-19 has put on healthcare the government cannot blame the pandemic alone for the projected surgical and testing delays,” Dias said. “This is the result of a chronically underfunded system and the only way to fix it is by investing now, not next budget, not during the next election campaign, but tomorrow.”