It was part of an effort to make hospital overcrowding a key issue in the upcoming provincial election.

Members of the London Health Coalition are intent on keeping focus of all political parties on wait times and funding.

“This facility, L.H.S.C ., is the so-called ground zero of hospital bed overcrowding in the province, and we are here to say that has to stop,” London Health Coalition spokesperson Peter Bergmanis told those gathered for the rally.

Claiming Victoria Hospital is at 165% capacity at times, the London Health Coalition went to great lengths to make their point by rolling hospital beds onto the sidewalk, and placing a skeleton on one of those beds.

Bergmanis says, “This is emblematic of what has gone off the tracks. We cannot go through austerity for 10 years and then have a small amount of re-injected monies to fund a few beds, which is a mere 24 in the City of London, when we’ve lost 2,000 acute care beds over 20 years.”

“We asked people to come out to this rally today, because we wanted to send a clear message leading into the provincial election,” Ontario Health Coalition Executive Director Natalie Mehra told the rally. “We must turn the corner on hospital cuts in this province.”

While organizers say the rally was non-partisan, three London NDP candidates were the only political figures in attendance.  “It’s an election issue because people of London are suffering,” says London West NDP MPP Peggy Sattler.

The Ontario Health coalition has plans for more rallies around the province in the coming weeks and will continue to push all political parties to re-open services and open more beds.