Interim Ontario NDP Leader Peter Tabuns is calling on Doug Ford to prioritize health care hiring as reports emerge of hospitals forced to temporarily close emergency departments and urgent care centres, and cut hours to cope with nurse and doctor shortages.
According to a Canadian Press report, temporary closures have happened at an emergency department in Clinton and an emergency room in Perth over the last few days. Urgent care hours were also recently cut back in a Kingston hospital as staff shored up the ER.
“Health care professionals are exhausted, their colleagues are leaving constantly, and we are reaching the point where there aren’t enough people to keep the doors to the ER open around the clock — and that’s terrifying,” said Tabuns. “Can you imagine arriving at the ER with a sick little one only to find the doors locked and the lights out? Can you imagine waiting hour after hour after hour with a loved one in pain while the doctors and nurses are simply too run off their feet to help you?
“No one should have to wait, or drive on down the highway to get the care they need. Delivering world-class health care without long waits should be our top priority in Ontario, and the Official Opposition NDP is calling for Premier Doug Ford to treat this growing crisis with urgency. The good news is that there are several things Ford can do right now that would make a big difference.”
The NDP is calling for solutions to the health staffing and wait times crisis, including:
- Amending the provincial budget to include funding for a major effort to recruit, train, retain and return nurses, doctors and PSWs
- Scrapping Bill 124 right now and paying health care professionals a decent wage
- Expediting recognition of credentials for thousands of internationally educated nurses and doctors
- Increasing hospital budgets so there can be enough staff on every shift to prevent burnout
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