During question period Tuesday, NDP MPP Michael Mantha demanded that Premier Kathleen Wynne take the health care of northerners much more seriously, after a shocking new study showed people in northern Ontario have nearly double the level of cardiovascular risk than people in the Greater Toronto Area.
“Why isn’t the province delivering the same level of health care to people living in northern Ontario?” asked Mantha, the MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin.
The new study, published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, showed a sharp divide in health outcomes between northerners and the rest of the province. It found the much higher risk of cardiovascular trouble, like heart attacks, may be a result of the fact that northerners have fewer preventative health care services — such as having an annual physical, seeing their doctor to have their cholesterol or diabetes checked, and having their blood pressure monitored and well controlled.
“This should be a wakeup call to the Wynne government, and one that’s coming too late for too many families,” Mantha said. “Two regions of northern Ontario, including my riding of Algoma-Manitoulin, have some of the lowest health outcomes for cardiovascular health in the province.
“So a father in my neighborhood is twice as likely to suffer a heart attack as a father in a southern community. I think we all understand: that’s not acceptable.
“This government needs to make rapid improvements to preventive care in northern Ontario,” Mantha said.
“When will this Liberal government go beyond broken promises and invest in health care for northern people?”