Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath was back in Wallaceberg today, keeping her promise to local residents to find out why the Sydenham hospital was stripped of its ‘small and rural’ designation and funding for vital services like the emergency room, diagnostic imaging, and front-line care workers.
“Leadership is about telling people what you will do – and then doing it,” said Horwath. “New Democrats always stand up for the health care that families need and I’m very happy to be back in Wallaceburg with answers for this community. It took 13 months to pry answers out of the Wynne government and what we’ve learned doesn’t inspire any confidence in Wynne’s health care leadership,” said Horwath.
According to internal government documents accessed through a Freedom of Information request, the rationale the Wynne Liberals used to justify stripping services from this community was that keeping the accounting clear between the Sydenham and Chatham hospital campuses was too complex to bother.
The FOI also noted that while the Sydenham hospital is considered ‘small’, the Liberals don’t consider it rural because it is 8 minutes too close to Chatham to qualify under the government’s arbitrary definition.
“Wallaceburg deserves so much better than Conservative cuts and Liberal excuses. This change highlights just how out of touch Wynne and the Liberals are with the people who live here and how little regard they have for how their decisions affect daily life in rural communities across Ontario,” said Horwath. “I’m back here today to say that New Democrats get it. People in small and rural communities, like Wallaceburg, deserve to have access to excellent health care services here at home. I will accept nothing less.”
Hospitals in Ontario have been pushed to the breaking point by Liberal and Conservative cuts. The Conservatives fired 6,000 nurses, closed 28 hospitals and slashed over 7,000 hospital beds. Wynne’s Liberals have done even more damage, shortchanging hospitals by at least $300 million this year alone.
“The time has come for Ontario to have a government that will fight for community hospitals and the local health care that generations of Ontarians have depended on, no matter the size of their home town,” Horwath finished.