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Healthcare workers from London, Ont. and surrounding region among those taking part in Queen’s Park rally

Posted: September 26, 2023

(September 25 2023)

By: Gerry Dewan, CTV News London

Similar to the Greenbelt controversy, healthcare rally organizers in London are pointing to the Ford government’s reversal on Greenbelt land deals that stood to greatly benefit developers.

They’re hoping for a similar turnaround on the issue of healthcare privatization.

Peter Bergmanis is co-chair of the London Health Coalition, and on Tuesday told CTV News London, “They’re supposed to govern in the better interest of the people as opposed to the private interests of the view and this government has really been failing.”

Penny Moore is a senior and a cancer survivor, and was one of the dozens of people who boarded two buses in south London on Monday morning to attend a rally at Queen’s Park to voice concerns about greater privatization. She said she’s already seen some services cut and worries about what the future will hold,

“I still go through treatment and some of our treatments have been cut. Even physio has gone privatized and it’s hard to get physio,” she said.

“Costs go up and quality goes down,” added Lorrie Vandersluis before she boarded a bus.

Residents from London, Ont. and surrounding communities loaded up on buses on the morning of Sept. 25, 2023 as they head to Queen’s Park for a rally opposing healthcare privatization.

Vandersluis is president of the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, which represents a wide range of healthcare workers. She said businesses need a profit margin and that doesn’t work in the best interests of most patients.

“That is the premise of capitalism, right. They want the best bang for their buck and their shareholders,” she explained. “It doesn’t become about people anymore.”

Health coalition members said the province is currently sitting on a large surplus of funds, mostly transfers from the federal government dedicated to healthcare. Former nurse and Fanshawe College nursing instructor Pat Patterson said Premier Doug Ford doesn’t dispute the money is there.

“He was grinning in a news report saying he had $22.5 billion for health care,” she said.

“We’re looking at unheard of levels of ER closures,” stressed Bergmanis. “Especially in small communities in this province. That’s never happened before and yet we have a pile of money sitting there. It’s all tax dollars just not being utilized properly.”

The coalition members hope they can get on the road to improved funding models and better outcomes for patients.