Records show Liberal, Conservative health care cuts hurt families in Napanee

Napanee Lennox and Addington County General Hospital operating above safe capacity, as high as 115 per cent, under Wynne Liberals

Today Premier Kathleen Wynne will visit Napanee Lennox and Addington County General Hospital, and the NDP says while Wynne is there, she must answer for why the hospital has been running dangerously overcrowded for years.

The Ontario NDP today released internal government statistics revealing that the hospital has been forced to operate its acute care unit well above safe capacity for 21 consecutive months.

“Years and years of Conservative and Wynne Liberal cuts to health care have done serious damage. Frontline health care staff are being asked to do more with less, and patients are paying the price – they’re waiting longer and they’re lying on gurneys in the hallway when there are no beds available,” said Horwath.

Experts, including the Auditor General, say 85 per cent is the safe maximum capacity limit in hospitals. But documents obtained by the NDP under freedom of information laws show that between October 2013 and June 2015, Napanee’s hospital was operating at 95 per cent capacity every day, reaching at times as high as 115 per cent. 

Ontario’s hospitals have been pushed to the breaking point by years of Conservative and Liberal cuts. The last Conservative government fired 6,000 nurses, closed 28 hospitals and slashed over 7,000 hospital beds. Wynne’s Liberals have done even more damage, with years of frozen budgets and underfunding, shortchanging hospitals by at least $300 million this year alone.

“The Wynne Liberals and the Conservative party are exactly the same when it comes to health care – they cut and privatize at every opportunity,” said Horwath. “The people of this community deserve better – every family does.” 

The NDP has committed to ending hospital cuts and  providing strong, predictable base funding for hospitals that will keep up with inflation and population growth and the unique needs of our communities. Horwath has called for a moratorium on layoffs of nurses and frontline care providers and, just recently, she introduced her party’s plan to create the first universal pharmacare program, because no one should have to empty their wallet just to get the medicine they need. Providing drug coverage for everyone – regardless of age, income or health history – can also play a role in relieving stress on hospitals.