January 30th, 2018

Horwath: Hospital overcrowding crisis can be fixed

Ontario NDP leader and MPP for Hamilton Centre Andrea Horwath issued the following statement regarding ongoing reports of hospital overcrowding, including ambulances forced to wait, unable to offload patients.

“In Hamilton, we’re hearing daily about the growing hospital overcrowding crisis – longer waits in the ER, more hospitals declaring gridlock, and ambulances lined up, unable to offload their patients because the ERs are more than full. This leads to dangerous code zero events – when there are no ambulances available to be dispatched when someone is having a medical emergency.

Health care workers and hospitals are doing what they can to keep up – but the root of this problem is bigger than front-line staff can solve. The problem is decades of cuts and underfunding. After the Conservative government closed 28 hospitals and fired 6,000 nurses, the Liberals cut and froze funding that hospitals need, including shortchanging hospitals by $300 million in this year’s budget. Now the Conservative platform vows to cut another $6.1 billion from the jobs and services we count on.

We have to stop settling for bad or worse when it comes to health care. It simply doesn’t have to be this way.

Annual funding should, at a minimum, keep up with the rate of inflation and population growth, and take a look at the unique needs of each community – things like aging populations. And we can implement a pharmacare program so that everyone can afford the medicine prescribed by their doctor – which is an upstream solution that will keep Ontarians healthier, and cut down on ER visits.

People are waiting, in pain at every stage of our health care system. Instead of letting the problem get worse, let’s do something about it.”