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Time to restore our health-care system

Posted: April 26, 2023

(April 25, 2023)

By: Letter to the Editor, Exeter Lakeshore Times Advance

The Sarnia Lambton Health Coalition is part of the Ontario Health Coalition; both groups advocate for public health care and ,in particular, public hospitals. Lambton County has a large community hospital, Bluewater Health, and a small rural hospital, Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital in Petrolia. Exeter and Goderich, two newly amalgamated small hospitals in Huron County, serve Grand Bend’s catchment area. The Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance, with its four hospitals, complete the area’s health care.

Our elected officials are trying to correct the backlog of surgeries and diagnostics by funding and opening private, for-profit day hospitals. Cataract surgeries will now be performed in three areas in the province: Ottawa, Waterloo and Windsor. Patients will have to travel to these day hospitals to receive their cataract surgeries. In the fall, tenders will be accepted to build day hospitals that will perform hip replacements, knee replacements and some shoulder surgeries, as well as colonoscopies and diagnostics.

Community hospitals will lose services like hip and knee replacements and cataract surgeries. That leads to a decrease in funding. That leads to real change in how health services are provided and, if those services can’t be provided locally, how many small rural hospitals will survive? I do not know, but I believe there is a better way, and that is to get rid of Bill 124, and pay health-care professionals what they are worth, fund our public hospitals to the level that other provinces fund their hospitals (Ontario is last in the nation for hospital funding), and to restore our health system to what it was – a vibrant, science-based system that was world class.

Please feel free to contact me at 226-402-2724 with questions or concerns.

Shirley Roebuck, Port Lambton

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