Horwath: Liberal cuts to healthcare hurt Leamington families

Leamington – Today Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath visited the Leamington District Memorial Hospital to meet with families, nurses, doctors and frontline care workers who are fighting to ensure babies can be delivered in Leamington. Horwath is calling for the Premier to reverse her cuts and to ensure the Obstetrics program at Leamington District Memorial Hospital remains open.

“Kathleen Wynne promised she wouldn’t cut healthcare, but because of Liberal cuts the Leamington Hospital may be getting out of the business of delivering babies,” said Horwath. “I’m a mom; I know firsthand that expecting parents want to start their families in their home communities. Kathleen Wynne’s cuts are going to mean moms and dads from Leamington are going to have to drive nearly an hour to Windsor to deliver their babies. Every time the Liberals find themselves facing a scandal they can find the money to make it go away, but when it comes to parents in southwestern Ontario they say the cupboard is bare.”

The Liberals have slashed $2 million in annual funding to Leamington Hospital forcing the hospital to consider the closure of the obstetrics program which currently delivers around 300 babies annually. According to media reports, Ontario’s Better Outcomes Registry and Network says since 2012 seven Ontario Hospitals have stopped delivering babies. This represents a significant hollowing out of rural obstetrics. 

“New Democrats are going to stand with families who want to be able to start their family in Leamington. By forcing parents to travel to Windsor, the Liberals are increasing the risks to mothers and they are putting parents more than an hour away from their support networks,” continued Horwath. “The Premier is a mother too. She should understand how important this is. The Premier needs to ensure that Leamington parents can have Leamington babies.”

New Democrats note that in spite of commitments not to cut healthcare, Liberal cuts are not limited to Leamington. Nurses are being fired across the province, beds are being cut and whole hospitals are being shuttered.