People in London and across the province will be rallying Monday afternoon in an effort to stop cuts to Ontario’s health care system.
Billing it as a ‘cross-Ontario referendum,’ the Ontario Health Coalition says demonstrators will gather in communities around the province to protest 196 million dollars in lost funding and the loss of 380 health care positions since 2012.
In London, protesters will gather at 4:15 p.m. outside the entrance to the Adult Emergency Department at LHSC’s Victoria Campus.
The group says Ontario is in its 9th consecutive year of cuts, meaning hospitals can’t keep up with inflation.
Just last month, both LHSC and St. Joseph’s Health Care announce multi-million dollar budget shortfalls resulting in planned staffing cuts, mostly through attrition.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, hundreds of doctors, health care workers and patients rallied outside of the Ontario Legislature to protest cuts made by the Liberal Government.
The group called ‘Concerned Ontario Doctors’ is warning that “unilateral cuts” to health-care spending are jeopardizing doctors’ ability to provide quality care to patients.
Last Friday, Health Minister Eric Hoskins revealed more than 500 doctors billed the province more than $1-million dollars each last year.
According to Hoskins, while the top billing doctors represented less than two percent of Ontario’s physicians, they represented nearly 10 per cent of the billings.
Speaking on The Craig Needles Show on AM980 Monday morning, Ontario Health Coalition spokesperson Jeff Hanks said they’re lobbying for the province to invest much needed cash into the health care system.
“We want funding restored so people aren’t waiting in stretchers in (emergency departments) for days on end and they’re treated with dignity,” Hanks said noting they’re asking supporters to sign referendum ballots to send a message to Queen’s Park.
Hanks said he’d like to know what the province last did a study of the London-region’s needs when it comes to bed space.
“We keep closing all these small hospitals around London and closing beds and services,” he said. “It’s putting bigger pressure on London, but they’re not saying ‘OK, how many beds do hospitals in this area need?’”
“We’re over 100 per cent capacity most of the time while 85 per cent is safe.”