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Health coalition calls for major funding hike

Posted: May 11, 2018

(May 11, 2018)

By: Sharon Hill, Windsor Star

Ontario’s health-care system is in crisis and it’s vital to get all political parties to commit to increasing funding for hospitals before the June 7 election, Ontario Health Coalition executive director Natalie Mehra said Monday.

“At this point, the downsizing has simply gone too far,” Mehra told local residents Monday at a lunch meeting at the Windsor Public Library’s central branch. “We have to turn the corner on hospital cuts.”

The coalition says the provincial government must increase funding by 5.3 per cent in each of the next four years for hospitals to keep up with inflation, population growth and an aging population and it must quickly add 30,000 long-term care beds. She said there are 34,000 people on waiting lists for long-term care homes across the province.

Mehra said she’s never seen a crisis of this sort in the last 23 years in health care. For 40 years every provincial government has downsized hospitals and it’s a threat to the public health-care system, she said.

“We don’t want to hear any party talking about lean, and finding efficiencies and transforming and restructuring – the code words for cuts. At this point, Ontario has to rebuild capacity.”

There are too many cases of patients waiting days on stretchers in hallways for a bed, too many cancelled surgeries because there aren’t enough hospital beds, and long waits in emergency rooms,Mehra said.

The overcrowding is not the hospital’s fault – it’s a funding issue, she said.

And the coalition isn’t asking for something outlandish, since every other province and most countries had more health-care beds per 1,000 people in 2015-16, she said.

For Windsor-Essex, Mehra said the proposed mega-hospital won’t have enough beds to meet the needs of the region and at least one hospital in Windsor needs to remain open. Most people don’t realize the mega-hospital is not an add-on but was proposed instead of existing sites, she said.

“You’re talking about 400,000 people sharing one hospital with too few services,” she said. “That raises the hairs on the back of my neck. That is cause for alarm.”

Windsor resident Doug Charles agreed. “Closing two hospitals for one is just not right,” he said.