Today’s Letters: On Hospital Funding, Home Care and Fitness

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Hospital funding details are vague

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The City’s Planning and Heritage Committees are reviewing the master plan for the new Civic Hospital campus today, but will only have sketchy details on the cost and funding of our new hospital.

The $2.8 billion cost is seriously underestimated. The six-year-old Oakville Hospital cost $2.7 billion and is 900,000 square feet smaller. In addition, $700 million, or 25% of the cost, must be covered locally. “Local” means that every penny will be collected by the hospital. Elsewhere in Ontario, cities raise funds through debt, special levies and taxes. Not Ottawa. Our mayor has won support by keeping taxes low and apparently doesn’t even want a much-needed hospital to tarnish that reputation. $700 million is a huge additional burden on hospital fundraising and may increase as costs rise.

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Yes, we need a hospital, but like the site decision, the finances are shrouded in secrecy and contradictions. Citizens need to know how the huge local financial commitment to build our new hospital will be covered. The province needs to know what its real financial responsibility is.

I predict costs will rise, the hospital will be unable to increase its share, and the city will magnanimously save the day by (reluctantly) raising taxes. It’s a smart political ending.

Valerie Swinton, Ottawa

We need to save home care

Subject: ‘We need help’: Home care in Ontario – the backbone of the health care system – faces a staffing crisis, September 29.

While long-term care is finally receiving attention and financial support after decades of underfunding, home care has been forgotten. It is an essential part of not only the provincial but also the national health care equation.

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It is imperative to ensure that people, many of whom have complex medical needs, move smoothly from one stage to the next so that there are no dead ends to prevent the appropriate care required. This must be done in a timely manner, otherwise our healthcare system will become unsustainable and it will ultimately lead to many unnecessary deaths.

This crisis has worsened both with the COVID pandemic and an aging population, and has resulted in thousands of medical appointments and surgeries being delayed. If we don’t act, our healthcare system will fail.

So please powers that be, hear our urgent pleas for help and provide the necessary direction and guidance before it is too late.

Keith SheldrickAlmonte

What if you abolished the tax on sports equipment?

Re: Fitness for all; Simple strategies could help Canadians move more regularly on September 27.

I agree with Jill Barker’s article and her suggestions for increasing the number of people who engage in personal physical activity.

However, she failed to mention that both governments could do their part by not charging us taxes on all sports equipment and services. Their lost income could be recouped many times over through savings in health care costs.

Larry Ross, Ottawa

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