Praise to the volunteers

This week the eHealth scandal in Ontario hit the press, $ 1 Billion spent to deliver electronic health records with little results. The Auditor General’s report on the eHealth initiative highlighted the cost of consultants hired, and the wasted opportunity to modernize the healthcare system. This same week our neighbor passed away, who volunteered for 48 years at the Etobicoke General Hospital. Consider the value of this selfless act against the actions of eHealth.

In my extensive experience in the health community of Ontario I’ve met many dedicated individuals seeking to improve health care. Nurses, doctors and regular people who directly impact health care. Volunteerism is very important in our health care systems both for fund-raising and in the delivery of care. These unpaid support staff in our hospital system save millions of dollars to the overall health care system.

Dorothy volunteered for 48 years, beginning with the fund raising efforts to build the local hospital; helping to get patients to their appointments and working in the gift shop. Her children were born in that hospital and in the end she passed away there. Last Friday the hospital honoured her work by flying the flag at half-mast. Even though a volunteer received no pay for their work, it is the most valuable gift that can be made.

Compare this with the millions of dollars taken out of the health care system by consultants working at eHealth Ontario. We all pay for our health care through taxes, so this is our money being spent. Even the consultants working at eHealth are tax payers, they should have been watchdogs of our money.

We can make a difference in health care. We need more dedicated professionals and individuals committed to helping improve the system.