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LILLEY: Prime Minister's report highlights health headache

Busy corridor at Brampton Civic Hospital on January 10, 2018. (Dave Abel, Toronto Sun)

Ontario residents have a difficult time accessing health care and feel stressed when dealing with a patient-free system: This is one of the clear notes in a report to be released on Thursday.

The first Preliminary Report by the President's Council on Improving Health Care and Ending Medical Facilities for Corridors is due to be published on Thursday at 8:00.

The council is led by Dr. Reuben Devlin, and rather than offer relief to millions of Ontario patients, the report will mostly describe the symptoms of the system.

It took too long to meet a doctor, the system is too complicated to navigate, and both patients and frontline workers deal with the strain of the broken system.

These are all issues that are obvious to anyone trying to access the healthcare system in Ontario, but the senior government official emphasizes that this is the first of several reports that try to diagnose before they get to the prescription.

Dr. Reuben Devlin (Toronto Sun Files)

"Only 35% of the patients admitted to the hospital are taken within eight hours," Devlin said last month in Ottawa.

It's a shocking statistic that Devlin is in charge of addressing.

But those who are looking for solutions will have to wait longer.

For a long time, we had a problem with taking too long to meet a doctor, but in the last provincial elections, the term "healthcare in the corridor" was new.

Last April, a new protocol from the London Health Sciences Center was issued in response to overcrowding in the middle of the campaign. This explicitly allows "healthcare in the corridor".

"Corridor refers to any unconventional location that can accommodate a bed or a stretcher," he read the protocol.

It could mean a wardrobe cabinet, throw in the corridors, or wherever a bed or a stretcher could be placed, but it did not allow stairs, exit doors or places where oxygen tanks were stored.

The Liberals have rejected the seriousness of the problem, but Ford and the PC have promised to fix it.

Shortly after the election, Devlin was commissioned to lead the workgroup.

Devlin trained as an orthopedic surgeon before becoming a hospital administrator. He was the president and CEO of the Humber River Hospital in Northwest Toronto and is credited with the development of the first digital hospital in the province.

That means you use the technology completely from existing touch displays to get access to patient records for robots who combine medication.

In his speech in Ottawa in December last year Devlin supported the embrace of technology and innovation.

"We need to reimagine health care with some of the innovations we have at our disposal today," Devlin said.

"We need a system that takes you through the entire continuity of care: One number you want to call, one website, where we should be today."

Perhaps in a future report, these are some of the recommendations that we will see. For the time being, however, the message before the government will make it clear: The system does not work as it should.

As for repair, stay tuned.

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