February 23rd, 2016

NDP demands answers from health minister for northerners requiring urgent surgery

Gilles Bisson, NDP House Leader and MPP for Timmins-James Bay, said Liberal cuts to healthcare is endangering the lives of Northerners by delaying surgeries.  Bisson demanded the Minister of Health take action for patients in Northern Ontario, like a man in his riding who wrote to the Minister of Health about his need for urgent heart surgery.

“I have a constituent in Moonbeam, Mr. Dana MacIntyre, who needs heart surgery as a result of a condition that he suffers. He gets referred to a hospital in Hamilton, he gets there at the end of January and the surgeon says, ‘You need to get in quickly.’ The problem is, he’s then told he has to wait at least six months because of cutbacks at the hospital; that it had to be done because of the reduction in budget when you flatlined it,” Bisson said.

“Why should this patient wait six months to get surgery for a life threatening condition? Is that a fair way to treat this man?”

Mr. MacIntyre has recently retired after working for 39 years in Northern Ontario. His cardiologist and a specialist both say he needs surgery now.  When Mr. MacIntyre tried to get onto the urgent wait list, he was told he’d have to wait six months. Now the wait list is growing and he has been told it could take nine months.

“Time and time again, Andrea Horwath and the NDP, have stood up and pointed out that hospitals in this province have been flatlined and that has resulted in services being diminished in those hospitals. You continually stand in this House and say that’s not the case; everything is fine, but this flies in the face of the experience that constituents across Ontario are feeling,” Bisson said.

“Minister, what Dana wants, and what patients across this province want, is when they’re sitting across from a surgeon who says, ‘You need surgery and you need it quickly,’ they want to know at the end of the day it’s going to be done. Imagine what this man feels like. He’s one constituent, one patient in the province of Ontario, who happens to have brought his case into my office. There are many, many more.

“We need to know from you now, Minister.   Are you going to make sure people like this don’t have to wait extraordinary amounts of time in order to be able to get surgery for life threatening conditions?”