The Wallaceburg-Walpole Island First Nation Health Coalition is worried about what the Doug Ford government will mean to public health care in the province—so they are pushing back.
The health coalition has seen red flags, as they point out that the provincial government has cut OHIP+ and mental health funding. Another red flag for the OHC is the province has released a major report calling for means testing, user fees and privatization of health care and other services.
Shirley Roebuck, the chair of the Chatham-Kent, Sarnia, Wallaceburg and Walpole Island First Nations Health Coalitions, said people don’t want privatization or mergers in their local healthcare systems.
“The healthcare system has been under cuts for the last 25 years. It cannot withstand any more cuts. So we want to make sure that Mr. Ford and the (Progressive) Conservatives are well aware of that,” Roebuck said.
The OHC is calling for improvements to health care and seniors care, hospital overcrowding and homecare, including reopening closed hospital beds, a long-term care minimum care standard of four hours per resident per day, and also that all new capacity in hospitals, long term care and community care to be built as pubic, non-profit services and not privatized.
Roebuck said the provincial government needs to fund healthcare properly to open all the hospital beds that have been closed over the past 25 years.
“There are many hospitals who struggle with hallway medicine,” Roebuck said. “People admitted to hallways, bathrooms, showers, supply closets.”
Members of the local health coalition joined Ontario Health Coalitions from across the province and went to Queen’s Park on Oct. 23 for a rally. The purpose of the rally was asking the new government to disavow plans for cuts and privatization. Ford didn’t attend and did not send the health minister and or anyone else in his stead.
“We were trying to make sure that our elected officials know that the people of Ontario do not want to lose their public healthcare system,” Roebuck said.