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Health coalition calls on action in response to provincial cuts

Posted: July 5, 2019

By: Ryan Stelter, Kenora Miner & News

A small, informal session was held to discuss provincial cuts to healthcare at Seven Generations Education Institute Wednesday, July 3. Ryan Stelter/Miner and News

A small group of healthcare providers and concerned citizens met at Seven Generations Education Institute Wednesday, July 3 at a community forum to discuss cuts to healthcare by the provincial government.The community forum was co-sponsored by the Ontario Health Coalition and OCHU, the hospital division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Ontario.Natalie Mehra, the executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition, attended as a guest speaker. Mehra said the Ontario PCs made the cuts without any “democratic mandate.”“This government is engaging in the most significant healthcare cuts that we’ve seen ever in the history of this province,” she said before the forum. “We have to stop it.”At the forum, CUPE released a report on the provincial cuts to healthcare. The report outlines that Ontario’s hospitals are underfunded by more than $400 per capita compared to the rest of Canada. Low funding requires Ontario hospitals to provide inpatient care for much less than any other province. The second lowest province, New Brunswick, provides $356 more per standard patient than Ontario according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information.The report also outlines the PCs plans to cut planned mental health funding by more than $330 million, restructure ambulance services from 59 to 10, reduce the amount of public health units from 35 to 10 among other cuts.

“We’re not asking for anything outrageous; we are bottom of the country in terms of number of hospital beds we have left, no province has cut as much as we have,” Mehra said. “Here in Kenora, we should fight the cuts, we should be fighting for the healthcare system that people need. We need to restore and revitalize services.”

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