May 19, 2018 @ 16:41
During a visit to Thunder Bay on Saturday, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath promised community members and health care workers change for the better when it comes to health care in the community, after years of underfunding and budget cuts.
“Thunder Bay is a great place to live. But we simply have to do better to make sure we’re taking care of the families that call Thunder Bay home by ensuring they have access to the care they need,” said Horwath. “After 15 years of Liberal governments, health care services here are stretched to the breaking point. Health care workers are doing their best, but they simply don’t have the resources they need to deliver the kind of care they want to.
“Doug Ford has promised to cut more than $6 billion across the board. In health care alone, that means cutting thousands of nurses and closing dozens of hospitals. In Thunder Bay, that means 112 fewer good paying hospital jobs. And his promise to ‘leave no stone unturned’ in his hunt to privatize services means the health care we all count on is all at risk.”
Last summer, the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre experienced record levels of occupancy and was in gridlock 90 per cent of the time. Early this year, it was so overcrowded that the 375-bed facility had 447 patients in its care. The hospital has the only trauma centre, the only neonatal intensive care unit and the only stroke unit in the region, and its emergency department is one of the busiest in the province, serving more than 100,000 patients a year. There is no way to divert patients to any other ER.
“Let’s stop settling for the painfully long waits in emergency rooms getting longer and longer, and start relieving the gridlock now,” said Horwath. “Let’s end overcrowding and give Thunder Bay families the care they deserve.”
Horwath’s platform – Change for the Better – commits to tackling hallway medicine and the overcrowding crisis by immediately investing $1.2 billion in Ontario’s hospitals, and continuing to invest in hospitals every year with funding that surpasses inflation and meets the needs of hospitals facing pressure from population growth, an aging local population and other unique needs in the community around the hospital.
The platform also commits to addressing the crush hospitals are experiencing by:
- Support and fund the Thunder Bay’s new cardiovascular Surgery Program
- Investing $19 billion over 10 years into hospital capital expansion to meet growing capacity needs, including much needed investments to replace or repair aging northern hospitals
- Opening 2,000 new hospital beds right now
- Taking pressure off hospitals by introducing universal pharmacare and dental care for everyone
- Shortening surgical wait times by eliminating arbitrary caps on the number of surgeries
- Investing in long-term care by funding 15,000 more long-term care beds over the next five years and 40,000 by 2028