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Health-care referendum planned

Posted: May 18, 2016

(May 18, 2016)

By: Jim Blake, Chatham Voice

Ontarians who are upset about the level of health-care funding are being urged to participate in a province-wide referendum on health care cuts from now through May 28.

Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition, said the referendum will ask residents to vote yes or no to the statement: “Ontario’s government must stop the cuts to our community hospitals and restore services, funding and staff to meet our communities’ needs for care.”

Mehra said Ontario is heading into its ninth consecutive year of real-dollar budget cuts to community hospitals’ global budgets.

“Ontario is second-last in Canada for public hospital funding,” she said. “The cuts have come in every conceivable area.”

She said the multi-layered health bureaucracies drain millions of dollars from front-line patient care.

“We have layers upon layers of extremely-well paid people who siphon off valuable dollars in administration, money that would be better spent serving patients,” she said.

Mehra said the OHC’s goal is to have thousands of ballots across the province during the next few weeks, leading up to the final vote.

Mehra, who had sharp words for the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance plans to close the emergency department, said local residents will have a second question should they choose to answer it.

“We’re asking a yes or no on the statement ‘Ontario’s government must stop the closure of Sydenham District Hospital’s Emergency Department and restore funding, services and staff to meet our communities’ needs for care.’”

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