QUEEN’S PARK—In question period on Wednesday, Ontario NDP Health critic and Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas said that by continuing to underfund hospitals in Sudbury and Thunder Bay, Doug Ford is taking hospital overcrowding in Northern Ontario from bad to worse.
“For years now, hospitals throughout our province have been operating at over capacity. Every night there are thousands of patients crammed into bathrooms, shower rooms, TV rooms and storage closets – anywhere you can fit a bed or a stretcher,” said Gélinas. “In Sudbury, Health Sciences North is at over capacity, and the hospital will get even more crowded with flu season approaching.”
Last October, Kathleen Wynne announced an inadequate, temporary, $100 million funding pool for all hospitals in the province to cope with overcrowding during flu season. On Wednesday, Ford made the exact same an announcement — but with $10 million less.
“Kathleen Wynne’s low funding and piecemeal approach caused hallway medicine to reach a crisis point,” said Gélinas. “Now Mr. Ford is using the Wynne approach, but with even less money. For Northern Ontario families who already wait too long in the ER, then watch their loved ones suffer through the indignities of hallway medicine, this cut by Premier Ford will hurt.”
Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, like so many other hospitals, has been operating at over capacity. Last January, they had 447 patients for 375 beds.
“The situation in Thunder Bay is still very dire, as they continue to try to provide quality care while being run off their feet, and find their patients stuck in hallways. Let me be clear: hallway medicine will never be quality care. It is not possible.
“We expect better for the North.”