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  • Writer's pictureMatt Gurney

A collapsing health-care system is Ontario’s real ‘new normal’

Updated: Dec 23, 2023

OPINION: The biggest takeaway from the auditor general’s report? Our hospitals are in deep trouble

Dec. 7, 2023

Health Minister Sylvia Jones attends a news conference in Vancouver on November 7, 2022. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

There was a time during the pandemic — I think it was during the Omicron surge, but it’s all blurred together somewhat — when it became uncomfortably clear that our doctors and other health-field experts were very, very worried.

This week saw the release of the auditor general’s annual report. The 2023 edition covers the usual array of topics. The one I opened immediately was the report on the state of Ontario’s emergency rooms.

The biggest takeaway from the report, though, at least to my eye, is the number of unplanned emergency-room closures that hit Ontario last year. Many of these made the news, especially as they got closer to large urban areas — a series in the outskirts of Ottawa got a lot of attention a few months ago. The overall big-picture number was still startling, though. Between July 2022 and June 2023, the annual reporting period, there were unplanned emergency-room closures just over 200 times. This added up to more than 5,000 hours of closed ERs over the reporting period.


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