Last month, Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s ‘Council on Improving Healthcare & Ending Hallway Medicine’ released its first report outlining the challenges facing the province’s healthcare system. Patient advocates and medical malpractice lawyers hoping for solutions will be disappointed: the report identifies pressing issues and levies criticisms but does not deliver recommendations.

Dr. Reuben Devlin, the council’s chair, notes in the report that there is “much to be proud of” in Ontario’s health care system, but adds that “people are waiting too long to receive care and too often are receiving care in the wrong place.”

“There needs to be more effective co-ordination at both the system level, and at the point-of-care,” Devlin writes. “This could achieve better value (i.e. improved health outcomes) for taxpayer money spent. As currently designed, the health care system does not always work efficiently.”

Among the issues noted in report, titled Hallway Health Care: A System Under Strain, are decentralization and lack of accountability in the healthcare system; lack of virtual care and healthcare apps; lack of patient access to personal health records; and Ontarians’ tendency to seek treatment at hospital emergency rooms rather than family doctors or community agencies.

Dr. Devlin is the retired head of Humber River Hospital and former president of the Progressive Conservative Party. He was an advisor to Premier Ford’s election campaign and is being paid $348,000 per year for his work on the health council, according to the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail.

To Ontario’s medical malpractice lawyers, the report covers well-trodden territory. Health professionals are likely to agree with most of Devlin’s assertions, including that “simply adding more beds to the system will not solve the problem of hallway health care.”

Hallway medicine and hospital overcrowding are serious issues that demand urgent solutions. When patients do not receive timely care, or when they are treated in suboptimal conditions, they are placed at higher risk of negative outcomes. Overcrowding and treatment in corridors put significant strain on Ontario’s healthcare providers and increase the risk of errors and infection. When the council’s second, solutions-focused report is released this spring, members of the healthcare community will be keen for fresh, tangible recommendations to solve these problems.

If you or a member of your family has been injured as a result of a medical error, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. Our team of medical malpractice lawyers can provide guidance and advice as you consider a personal injury claim. Medical malpractice suits in Canada are challenging – our team’s combination of experience and expertise gives you the best chance at accessing compensation.

Greg Neinstein