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“You’ve gotta stop cutting” patient tells provincial government: “They tell us to go for help, but where do you go?”

Posted: October 30, 2015

(October 30, 2015)

By Jeff Turl, The Bay Today

Health workers and patients rallied outside of the Regional Health Centre on King St. this morning. Photo by Jeff Turl.

Lana Brown of North Bay has seen first-hand what cuts to health services locally are doing.

“They put us through so much at the hospital that it’s traumatizing,” she said at a rally this morning at the mental health clinic on King Street. “You feel worse when you leave than when you went in.”

Brown says she is representing patients in calling for a stop to cuts to staff and services.

“So a lot of us come here [Regional Health Centre], but now they are cutting here so we don’t know what will be left for us.”

She suffers from depression.

“They tell us to go for help, but where do you go? They say ‘We can get you in to see a counsellor’, but you have to wait for two months.”

Brown says she seen a steady deterioration of health service in the past couple of years.

“I was in the acute psychiatric unit in crisis about a year ago, and you could see it then. They were talking about a second round of cuts and I ended up back in again after that. There were two nurses for every 10 or 12 patients.”

North Bay is facing the worst hospital cuts in all Ontario according to the North bay Health Coalition, with millions of dollars in cuts having been announced at North Bay Regional Health Centre, affecting departments across the hospital from emergency, clinical support, laboratory and pharmacy.

In the latest round, more than 150 front-line nurses, health professionals, care and support staff are being cut along with all the services they provide.

The Mental Health Rehabilitation Unit is also slated for closure.

Michael Taylor is the Co-Chair of the North Bay branch of the Ontario Health Coalition.

“We’re here to raise awareness that North Bay has the worst possible cuts in the province,” he said.

“It includes the mental health rehab unit, medical and surgical beds as well as porter services, which is important because it involves cleaning of the hospital and transporting patients. It also means longer waits for patients, cancelled surgeries, higher infection rates, patients on stretchers in hallways, emergency room delays and emergency overloads because hospital beds are full.”

Taylor says some patients have to be taken to Sudbury for care.

The Coalition is planning a “Day of Action” on Monday November 30th at Lee Park starting at noon.

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