Open Letter from Andrea Horwath to Premier Wynne on North Bay hospital cuts, a direct result of Wynne govt's health care cuts
Dear Premier Wynne:
Your government’s cuts to health care have gone too far. Today, I am writing to ask that you take immediate action to stop cutting health care services and laying off health care workers at North Bay Regional Health Centre.
North Bay has experienced devastating health care cuts as a direct result of your government’s bad decisions. For four straight years, the Liberal government froze hospital budgets. These cuts forced North Bay Regional Health Centre to layoff over 350 nurses and hospital workers, while closing beds and cutting services.
On June 6, 2016, in Question Period, I asked you how you could possibly defend your record of cutting over 350 jobs at North Bay hospital.
Unfortunately, instead of changing course, your government is doing even more damage.
This morning, we’ve learned that North Bay Regional Health Centre will cut another 30 to 40 jobs over the next two weeks. This is very troubling news for families, seniors, and everyone who needs health care in North Bay.
Health care in Ontario is at a tipping point. After four years of frozen budgets, hospitals across Ontario are overcrowded and many are running beyond safe occupancy levels. And according to the Ontario Hospital Association, Emergency Department wait times are now the longest on record since Ontario started measuring these wait times.
North Bay Regional Health Centre says that the hospital is experiencing “extremely difficult times.” When the hospital failed to cut enough to balance its 2015-16 budget, your government punished it by cutting another $7 million.
Moreover, like people across Ontario, North Bay Regional Health Centre also faces skyrocketing electricity bills. According to hospital officials, energy costs are projected to increase by 12 per cent, or $200,000, this year – but the hospital will not qualify for hydro relief under your Liberal government’s $40 billion borrowing scheme.
As Premier, you can finally do the right thing and stop cutting health care in North Bay and across Ontario. I ask you to work with North Bay Regional Health Centre to prevent the layoff of 30 to 40 additional health care workers.
It’s your job to protect those jobs – and protect the care that people need in North Bay. Communities across Northern Ontario deserve nothing less.
We cannot stand by silently while you do even more damage to the health care that people count on. That is why New Democrats will continue to demand an end to your government's cuts to health care services across Ontario.
Andrea Horwath, MPP
Leader, Ontario's New Democrats