May 14th, 2018

Horwath talks health care, long-term care at Sarnia townhall meeting

Instead of Wynne’s cuts and Ford’s deeper cuts, Horwath’s plan builds up health care

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath joined Sarnia families on Monday for a townhall meeting about the desperate situation in Ontario’s health and long-term care systems, and her plan to undo the damage of decades of Liberal and Conservative governments.

“After 15 years of Liberal governments, our hospitals are overcrowded. Patients wait for hours in crowded waiting rooms, only to end up on a stretcher or chair in a hallway instead of in the hospital bed they need,” said Horwath. “From mental health care to long-term care, Ontario is in crisis, and getting worse.

“And Ontarians – all of us – deserve better.”

Horwath was joined at the townhall by many that have been affected by the painfully long waits and hallway medicine – including those who have been to the overcrowded Bluewater Health hospital in Sarnia, which has particularly struggled with overcrowding in its mental health units.

And while Horwath laid out her plans for change for the better for patients and families, she also addressed what’s at risk with Doug Ford. The Conservative candidate has vowed to cut more than $6 billion across the board, and his plan to ‘leave no stone unturned’ when it comes to privatization would be devastating to hospitals like Bluewater Health, and families that rely on them.

“I don’t believe a hospital visit should come with a bill. And I don’t believe you should get worse health care if you’re not rich,” said Horwath. “The good news is, we don’t have to settle. We can build up health care, end hallway medicine, and give patients the care they deserve. We can ease the crush hospitals are feeling by helping folks avoid the ER with drug and dental plans that cover everyone. And we can give frontline health care staff the resources they need to do the critical work they do – caring for those who need it.”\

The townhall was emceed by Sarnia-Lambton NDP candidate Kathy Alexander, who serves as executive director of the Bluewater Health Foundation.

Horwath has already released a complete platform – Change for the Better – which specifies a number of positive changes for health care, including:

  • Immediately investing $1.2 billion in Ontario’s hospitals, and making sure future funding keeps pace with inflation, population growth, aging, and the unique needs of our communities
  • Launching a province wide ‘find-and-fix’ public inquiry into problems in the long-term care system
  • Funding 15,000 more long-term care beds over the next five years — and 40,000 new beds by 2028
  • Investing $2.4 billion in an overhaul of mental health and addiction services, including hiring 2,600 more mental health professionals, shortening wait times for children’s mental health to under 30 days
  • Launching Canada’s first universal pharmacare plan, a drug plan that covers everyone, and providing dental care for everyone, either through a workplace plan or through their health card