Mar 14, 2018 @ 12:44
On Tuesday, Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath toured the Timmins and District Hospital (TADH) with NDP MPP Gilles Bisson and hospital CEO Blaise MacNeil – and said that action is needed now to help the overcrowded facility care for patients after decades of cuts and budget freezes by the Liberal and Conservative governments.
“We have an overcrowding crisis across the province, and Timmins is one of the many hospitals that has been cut and shortchanged by the Wynne Liberals,” said Horwath. “The ER here is seeing double the number of patients it was designed to see. Staff are doing their absolute best, but it’s a struggle to keep up.
“It’s been too many years of choosing between two parties that do nothing but cut hospital budgets, and too many years of governments that ignore the North.”
TADH CEO MacNeil says the hospital is facing a $4.5 million deficit for the coming year, and does not receive enough yearly base funding to keep up with maintenance or the number of patients coming in. The hospital’s 25-year-old ER was built to support 20,000 visits per year, but is now receiving twice that per year; a leak in the roof has forced the hospital to close beds, including five beds in the maternity ward.
Horwath says it doesn’t have to be this way. If elected, she’s committed to predictable hospital funding that keeps up with inflation, population growth, and the unique needs of northern communities.
“The last Conservative government closed 28 hospitals and fired 6,000 nurses. The Liberals had 15 years to fix this, but instead, Kathleen Wynne has made it worse with budget freezes and further cuts – It’s time for something completely different in Ontario,” said Horwath. “It’s time to listen to everyday Ontario families. Change for the better means stopping the cuts, stopping the layoffs and investing in care again, so families can count on it — without the long waits.”
Timmins–James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson says access to health care is a top concern in his region.
“It’s heartbreaking to hear from family after family that has been let down when it comes to health care,” said Bisson.
“I think Kathleen Wynne’s cuts have been wrongheaded, and I’m completely disgusted to hear Doug Ford say it’s time to make even deeper cuts to services we count on. He says $6.1 billion in cuts doesn’t go far enough – and for our hospitals, and our kids’ schools and our northern highways, that’s a deeply troubling statement.”
In addition to Horwath’s hospital funding commitment, she and the NDP have committed to a plan that will bring Hydro One back into public hands and lower hydro bills by 30 per cent; and a plan for universal pharmacare – a drug plan that covers everyone regardless of age or income.
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