During question period Wednesday, Peggy Sattler, NDP MPP for London West, demanded an acknowledgement from Kathleen Wynne that she is failing Londoners by refusing to approve a mental health project to help thousands of Londoners.
This was the sixth time MPP Sattler has raised the issue in the Ontario legislature over the past three months, as yet another London West constituent contacted her to report a disastrous mental health ER experience.
“Two months ago, I shared the story of a constituent forced to lie for a week in a hospital hallway waiting for a mental health bed,” said Sattler. “Last week, another constituent, David Warren, spent more than three days in the ER waiting for his wife to be transferred to the mental health unit – after she had been ordered to go to the hospital through a Form 1. Eventually she had to go to St. Thomas to get the treatment she required.”
Asked Sattler, “Does the premier think it is acceptable that Londoners have to leave their community to access the emergency care they so urgently need?”
When Sattler’s office spoke to the London Health Sciences Centre about David Warren and his wife, hospital staff acknowledged that long waits in the ER only worsen the condition of mental health patients, and that the system had failed David’s wife.
“One of the things that could help is London’s proposed mental health diversion project, which would divert as many as 3,000 people a year from the hospital Emergency Department to the community-based crisis centre,” said Sattler. “Five times I have asked this government to approve this pilot project, but the project remains stalled. In fact, London Middlesex EMS Chief Neal Roberts, who is here today, ha s become so frustrated that he has temporarily withdrawn EMS participation from the project.”
“Does the premier agree that her government is failing families like David’s, and will she commit to implementing London’s much-needed mental health pilot project now?”
Warren first contacted Sattler’s office after he had been waiting for over two days for his wife to be transferred to a mental health bed. “I have had to bring my wife to the hospital a few times over the past ten years, and with each visit the waits and the service just get worse,” said Warren.
The business case for the mental health diversion pilot project showed that as many as 3,000 people could be diverted from the hospital ER each year, generating savings of $2.5 million. Instead of waiting days to be seen at the hospital, a patient could access care at the crisis centre in as little as 20 minutes.