Shaw fights to ensure ambulance availability, end code zeros in Ontario
Sandy Shaw, NDP MPP for Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas, will bring forward a motion for debate Thursday calling for action to end ambulance unavailability across the province.
“It’s a terrifying moment when you call an ambulance for a parent, grandparent, or child, only to learn that no ambulance is available to respond,” said Shaw. “Right now, we are witnessing a dire shortage of available ambulances in all parts of the Ontario. In different areas you may hear ‘code zero’, ‘code black’, or ‘code red’. They all have the same horrifying meaning – that not a single ambulance is available to respond to an emergency call for the entire region.”
In October, Essex County declared a state of emergency when a code black lasted three hours. In Hamilton, Code Zeros have already tripled compared to last year. In Ottawa, Waterloo, and Thunder Bay, Code Zeros have become a near daily occurrence.
“We cannot allow this terrifying crisis to continue. Ontarians expect ambulances to be available when they need them”, said Shaw. “When ERs and hospitals are short-staffed, ambulances remain parked as paramedics wait with patients instead of leaving them in the care of a nurse. That prevents paramedics from getting back on the road and saving more lives.”
Shaw is urging the government to take immediate action including repealing Ontario’s wage-capping Bill 124 to ensure the province can recruit, retain, and return nurses to hospitals so health care professionals are available to receive patients.
“Every Ontarian should have access to ambulance and paramedic services,” said Shaw. “The Ford government needs to provide the funding needed to end ambulance shortages once and for all. They can make that commitment today by immediately passing this motion.”
Motion 4: End Code Zeros
That, in the opinion of this House, every Ontarian should have access to ambulance and paramedic emergency services, and the Government of Ontario should ensure the necessary funding to end the periods of time when ambulances are unavailable to respond to an emergency call, known as “code red” or “code black”.
Ontario’s staffing-driven health care crisis demands major investments, not partial solutions
QUEEN’S PARK — NDP Health critic France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) and NDP Immigration Services and International Credentials critic Doly Begum (Scarborough Southwest) released the following statement in response to the government announcement on Ontario’s health workforce:
“There’s no question that we need to retain health care workers on the frontlines of our hospital crisis right now. To entice non-practicing and retired professionals back to work, we need to make sure that the health care sector is fully staffed and fully funded. Long hours, insufficient wages from Bill 124, and exhausting shifts on understaffed wards will not make people want to return to work and provide the vital mentorship and training that is desperately needed for new nurses.
Forcing internationally trained health professionals to prove language proficiency multiple times is one barrier that many of us fought to remove. While we welcome small steps towards making it easier for internationally trained nurses to join the frontlines in Ontario, it’s disappointing to see doctors who live in Ontario and have international training continue to be left sitting on the sidelines. We have a dire shortage of family doctors with over a million Ontarians lacking access to primary care. The lack of access to primary care is just one of the reasons that people end up in an emergency room – and further burn out health care workers in hospitals.
We need strong incentives to bring retired nurses back to underpaid and overworked positions. Today’s announcement does not address the systemic problems retaining our existing health workforce and preventing health care workers from returning, or attracting new doctors to our system.”
NDP slams Ford for sitting on tens of billions amid worsening health care crisis
QUEEN’S PARK – Catherine Fife, NDP Finance Critic, slammed the Ford government for sitting on $44 billion in contingencies as the health care and other crises worsen in Ontario, revealed by the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) report.
The bombshell figure comes from the FAO’s 2022 Fall Economic and Budget Outlook. In it, the FAO is forecasting a $40 billion shortfall across all programs over the next six years, including:
- $23 billion shortfall in health
- $6 billion in education
- $4 billion in children, community, and social services
- $2.6 billion in postsecondary funding
- $2.3 billion in justice
“It is unconscionable for Doug Ford to make cuts in health, education, and social services,” said Fife. “Our hospitals are already at a breaking point. Education workers are accessing foodbanks. ODSP and OW recipients live in legislated poverty.
“Doug Ford needs to allocate these massive historic contingencies to prevent shortfalls in the services that Ontarians count on.”
Fife said covering the projected shortfalls on its own isn’t enough. The NDP is also calling on the government to invest more in health care, education, and social services instead of racking up $25.2 billion in surpluses over the next six years.
“The government should address the staffing crisis in health care by repealing its wage-capping Bill 124,” said Fife. “The government should bargain a fair deal with Ontario’s lowest-paid education workers instead of risking disruption and staffing crises in our schools. The government should double social assistance rates so that Ontarians aren’t forced to live in legislated poverty and rely on food banks.”
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