November 6th, 2018

Kingston families have waited long enough for the health care they need: Horwath

KINGSTON — Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath said that Kingston families are waiting too long at every stage of health care — from the thousands waiting to get a family doctor, to long waits in crowded hospitals, and painfully long waits for specialists.
Horwath was in Kingston with NDP MPP Ian Arthur to hold a roundtable and hear from those impacted by the long waits for care, and the long wait for solutions from government.
“Today, Kingston families shared heartbreaking stories about what it feels like to languish on a waiting list for a family doctor. Expecting mothers are forced to travel out of the city, suffering through hour long drives just for a check up. For others, moving to Kingston to be closer to their children and grandchildren has meant losing their family doctor and facing a crowded emergency room or walk-in clinic every time they need even the most basic level of care.
“Kingston families need Kingston family doctors — it’s time to fix this doctor shortage.”
For years, thousands of people have gone without a family doctor with some reports estimating that as many as 33,000 people are without. Kingston City Council recently passed a motion calling on the provincial government to reclassify the city as a high needs area for family physicians.
At Kingston hospitals, families continue to face higher than average wait times for care, with Kingston General Hospital routinely operating over 100 per cent capacity since 2012. Kingston residents can expect to wait in an emergency room for over 13 hours for complex conditions and over five hours for minor conditions, well above the provincial average.
Horwath said that with Doug Ford already making deep health care cuts and threatening to cut billions of dollars more, families are losing hope that waits will get any shorter.
Ford has cut $330 million from annual mental health funding, cut flu surge funding by 10 per cent compared to last year, and warned hospitals that they’ll need to be ready to do more with even less. Ford’s new plan to force workers to get a doctor’s note if they take a sick day will put even more pressure on primary care providers while his cuts to mental health will put more pressure on emergency rooms.
“It doesn’t need to be this way,” said Horwath. “It’s time to restore hope to Kingston families that they will finally get the care they need, without the wait. I’m here to listen, to talk about solutions, and to help map out a better way forward for Kingston.”