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Health care in crisis – Mehr

Posted: April 17, 2016

(April 17, 2016)

By: Jennifer Hamilton-McCharles, The Nugget

If the public doesn’t start voicing their opinion then they better brace for more health care cuts.

That is the warning from the North Bay and Ontario Health Coalitions.

Natalie Mehr, president of the Ontario Health Coalition, said cuts will continue to happen if something isn’t done.

“What we’re trying to do is provide a way for regular people to show the provincial government that they can’t ignore this issue any longer,” she said.

“North Bay has been among the worst hospitals hit. People are suffering and can’t afford the services they need. People will die. The evidence is irrefutable. Hospitals are at dangerous levels of overcrowding, no staffing and more and more surgeries are being cancelled.”

The North Bay and Ontario Health Coalitions are holding a town hall meeting Tuesday in response to “devastating” hospital cuts at the North Bay Regional Health Centre.

According to the coalition, more than 300 full-time, front-line and support staff have been cut since 2013 and 60 beds have been closed. Entire departments, including the regional mental health rehab unit and forensic transitional unit, have been closed.

The town hall meeting takes place at 7 p.m. at Emmanuel United Church, 395 Lakeshore Dr. The public is invited to attend, share information and organize a local campaign to save and restore local hospital services.

Mehr said the situation is at crisis level and it’s become “the new normal.”

She said hospital chief executive officers continue to tell the public it’s about moving services out of the hospital into the community, but that’s not the solution to the problem.

Mehr said hospital emergency rooms are always full, because the public needs those same services the hospital administration wants to out source.

“The decision makers in Toronto are out of touch. They don’t know what is happening and they’re not listening. Regular Ontarians need to make their opposition known. (Premier Kathleen) Wynne can’t ignore this problem any longer.”

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