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Posted: November 13, 2015

(November 13, 2015)

By: Quinte News

Cold heavy winds didn’t deter almost 600 people from coming together to send a message to the province that they won’t stand for anymore cuts to healthcare.

This comes a week before the Quinte Healthcare Corporation is expected to announce another round of cuts to local hospitals as it grapples with an $11 million dollar shortfall for the 2015-16 fiscal year. QHC will announce the cuts November 19.

Bus loads of unionized health care workers from across Ontario attended what will be the first of four Ontario Health Coalition rallies being held across the province.

Vice President of the Ontario Association of Nurses Vicki McKenna, who has been a front line nurse for 35 years, says there is an attack on healthcare across the province. She says the cuts started as a slow decline in services has spiraled out of control, with decisions being made on the budget and not on patients.

Executive Director of the Coalition Natalie Mehra told the crowd small rural hospitals like TMH cannot survive another two more years of cuts, and hospitals in small towns are teetering on the brink of disaster.

Our TMH vice chair Mike Cowan agreed TMH won’t be able to handle another round of cuts.

Prince Edward Hastings MPP Todd Smith blamed the Liberal government for having its priorities in the wrong place. He pointed to the millions of dollars that have been spent on the PAN AM Games, gas plant scandals and teachers’ unions.

Northumberland Quinte West MPP Lou Rinaldi was singled out for not attending the rally. Cowan says QHC members were told not to attend.

Rinaldi says he informed committee members last week that he wouldn’t be attending.

Evelyn Wilson spoke out at the rally saying how much TMH means to her and her family, especially through her daughter Katie’s cancer diagnosis, treatment and battle leading up to her death. Wilson says she was disappointed Rinaldi wasn’t there.

She says he has put his party over his constituents.

Following the rally, concern grew over the disappearance of the messages rally participants wrote to Rinaldi.

Wilson says she, along with Our TMH committee members, went to the MPP’s Brighton office with 150 helium balloons with messages written on them for Rinaldi to take to Queen’s Park and his secretary released them outside after they left.

When Quinte News spoke with Rinaldi he said he was heading to his office to get to the bottom of what happened.

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