April 9th, 2015

Horwath Meets with Healthcare Workers to Talk Liberal Hospital Cuts

Welland – Today, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath met with Niagara area nurses, frontline healthcare staff, Welland Mayor Frank Campion, and MPPs Cindy Forster (Welland) and Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls). The healthcare roundtable focused on healthcare cuts and the Liberal government’s plan to further damage healthcare in the Niagara Peninsula.

“The Niagara Health System is already overcrowded, but Kathleen Wynne is shutting down hospitals in Niagara, including the Welland Hospital,” said Horwath. “By closing hospitals Kathleen Wynne is putting families at risk. Every time the Liberals find themselves facing a scandal they can find the money to make it go away, but when it comes to healthcare for people in Niagara they say the cupboard is bare.”

Horwath noted that health cuts are not limited to Niagara, pointing out that communities across Ontario are facing cuts. Examples include:

•         50 Nurses being cut at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (Ottawa);

•         42 Nurses being eliminated in Sudbury;

•         39 Nurses being cut at Bluewater Health in Sarnia; and

•         Closing the Leamington Obstetrics and Gynecology department

Last week, representatives of the Ontario Health Coalition came to Queen’s Park to discuss a report by International Health Policy Expert Dr. John Lister, showing that the plan to close Niagara’s hospitals “lacks any rational justification” and will put patients at risk. Dr. Lister’s report also highlighted elements of the plan which will lead to greater healthcare privatization.

Acute care bed occupancy in the NHS has already reached 102% of capacity, but the closures will reduce the number of beds. And according to documents obtained from the LHIN, closing hospitals will require that remaining NHS complex continuing care beds will be expected to remain at 97% occupancy—safe occupancy levels are 82%—meaning that the NHS will be operating a continual crisis level.

“Kathleen Wynne promised she wasn’t going to cut health care, but the Liberals are closing hospitals. These cuts are going to hurt families from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Port Colborne and everyone in between,” said Horwath. “Niagara deserves respect, and families deserve to know that their healthcare system is  going to be there when they need it.”