- Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor 

Rob Gowan of the Sun Times has done an excellent clarifying dive into the Virtual Care story.

You'll find my editorial take below.

There is still a free, Virtual Care service provided through Brightshores Health System. New details are on their newly revised website. This is provided by Urgent Care Ontario, under a new regional provincial funding model which apparently funds only weekdays until 9 p.m. No more Saturday service.

The real confusion is that Maple, who previously provided the free service under a contract with the hospital, are continuing to offer their service to the public and other organizations for a fee.

They have contact information for all  those who previously used the service through our public hospital - Grey Bruce Health Services/Brightshores.  They are using it to promote their user pay service.

If you are not yet convinced that privatized services remove desperately needed health care professionals from our publicly funded health care system - this might do it. Every hour Canadian-registered doctors are spending working for this for-profit enterprise is a working hour they are not available to our public system.

How many people will respond to Maple's request to join them for a fee, not knowing the other system even exists?

Essentially the "pilot project," under contract to Maple, was a marketing opportunity - funded by the Ontario taxpayer - to provide "free samples" and gather customer contact information for their business.  Does anyone really believe that was not the Ford government's intention all along?

While the PC's did not run on privatizing health care, they did it quickly after voters gave them their second majority government. They continue to insist that all the privatized services can be accessed "with your OHIP card, not your credit card"  - well, unless your child is sick on Saturday.  And even that is only if you have the privilege of holding a credit card.

Note, this is not the private health care service our MPP Rick Byers used in 2018 - he has a much more robust private plan with MedCan - unless he has dropped it since he was elected in favour of the taxpayer funded MPP insurance offering.





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