From the Park – Ontario’s Silent Health Care Crisis

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This week Queen’s Park again saw multiple issues come to light regarding Ontario’s plummeting healthcare system.  You will recall last week New Democrats called upon the government to put a moratorium on nursing cuts.  Since 2015, more than 1,400 nursing jobs have been eliminated due to funding cuts.  This has got to stop.

Our Leader Andrea Horwath this week released new information showing evidence of overcrowding in many Ontario hospitals.  New Democrats obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act showing acute care beds in hard hit regional hospitals as well as large urban hospitals are functioning above the level of 100% capacity.  As well the NDP has shown that the Liberals have no established standards or best-practices for managing hospital occupancy.  In fact, here at home, Algoma and North Shore, Sault Area Hospital and Blind River District Health Centre have faced overcrowding for one of the longest periods of time across the province.  While the Liberals refuse to even admit that overcrowding is even an issue here, patients and families in the Sault Ste. Marie and Blind River catchment areas know for a fact that our hospitals have been operating beyond capacity for over two years. Clearly healthcare is facing a silent crisis.

Next Tuesday I have been invited by Espanola Regional Health Centre to join the nursing staff for the annual Take Your MPP to Work Day. I look forward to seeing firsthand the dedicated service these front line workers provide to patients day in and day out across the province despite the challenges hospitals and staff must compensate for daily.

Last Sunday I was overwhelmed by the incredible welcome and support the people of Burlington provided at their first Lyme Ontario Walk for Hope. It was an honour and a privilege to join hundreds of Lyme Warriors in this fight.  In the Legislature my colleague Sarah Campbell, MPP for Kenora-Rainy River called upon the government to act now to create a comprehensive Lyme disease strategy to help Ontarians with the disease by providing full funding from diagnoses through to treatment. Campbell pointed out that it has been nearly 18 months since my member’s motion that received unanimous support calling on the government to come up with an integrated Lyme disease strategy by the end of 2015.  Here we are in May of 2016 and still the Liberals have not made any progress or effort to act as they promised.

As well New Democrats pointed out that the Liberal government’s approach to resolving the backlog for children with Autism is to simply deny access to those over the age of 5. In reality what the Wynne Liberals are doing is balancing their latest budget on the backs of these children and their families.  The government has chosen to ignore to its own expert advisors advice on how to meet the needs of these vulnerable children. Balancing the budget on the backs of these children and their parents is just not fair.  It is our responsibility to do better.

This weekend Canadians marked the beginnings of the summer season by celebrating the Victoria Day Holiday.  I hope you made the most of this opportunity and got out to enjoy the bounty that all of Algoma-Manitoulin has to offer by hiking, boating, biking and camping in our spectacular natural environs.

As always, please feel free to contact my office about these issues, or any other provincial matters. You can reach my constituency office by email at [email protected] or by phone at 705-461-9710/1-800-831-1899.

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