A report done for the provincial government shows strengths and weaknesses when it comes to health care in Ontario and in our part of the province.
At its meeting Monday, the Southeast Local Health Integration Network board will see a report from Health Quality Ontario on the performance of the health care system.
The report also focuses on the region that includes the Quinte area, where health care is overseen by the Southeast LHIN.
Province-wide there are an increasing number of emergency room visits, including more for serious conditions and opioid-related poisonings. Also, more beds are
being used by people who are waiting for a transfer to a long-term care or other facility.
On a positive note, people in Ontario are living longer, but in our region we have higher rates of premature mortality. This is said to be caused by having more people with challenges related to income, quality of life, and lifestyle.
More positively, there’s an increase in the number of people having cancer-related surgeries within the recommended time frames and more people are receiving palliative care in their homes.
In our region, the report notes that wait times in local emergency departments are quite a bit shorter than the provincial average (11.5 hours compared to 16 hours provincially).
On a less happy note, health care providers within the Southeast LHIN are dealing with the third highest number of visits per capita for opioid poisoning and a higher rate of hospitalization for opioid related issues.
Also our region has higher opioid prescription rates.
And, the report’s statistics bear out the perception that our region continues to face a shortage of family or primary care physicians.
We have a higher percentage of people visiting emergency departments for issues that could be handled by a family doctor. The Southeast LHIN has the second
highest percentage in Ontario in this category. Also, we have a higher percentage of people complaining that they have trouble getting medical help in the evenings and
on weekends without going to an emergency room.
Closing on a brighter note, caregivers in our region seem to be doing well. The Southeast LHIN has the second lowest percentage of “distressed caregivers” in the province.