The Ontario NDP announced a 12-point plan to do away with so-called ‘hallway medicine’ during a media event outside of Health Sciences North on Monday.
“Families in Sudbury cannot afford any more cuts to their hospital,” Sudbury NDP candidate Jamie West said in a media release.
“The good people of Sudbury and Copper Cliff already face long wait times in the emergency room and our hospital is synonymous with ‘hallway medicine.’ New Democrats will finally end the hallway medicine left after 15 years of Liberal government and never fixed under the Ford Conservatives. We will stop Doug Ford’s billions in planned cuts that will devastate our hospitals. New Democrats will invest in Health Sciences North, in more nurses, and more doctors and more front line staff to provide more care.”
Nickel Belt NDP candidate France Gélinas joined West at the event, and said the health-care facility needs more funding to expand its facilities and provide services to those who need them.
Following the event, she told Sudbury.com that her longstanding grievance with hallway medicine has affected many people in the Greater Sudbury area.
“There isn’t enough staff to look after them,” she said of patients, calling to mind the story of a man being cared for at Health Sciences North who was made to wear incontinence products.
“The man is not incontinent, he knows when he has to go to the bathroom, there just isn’t staff to help him,” she said.
The understaffing feels “by design,” she said, with the public health-care system’s erosion contributing to a push for privatization as a way of solving it.
“This is not the society I want,” she said, adding that the real solution is improving the public system as a whole so that everyone benefits, and not just those who can afford it.
The Ontario NDP’s 12-point plan includes:
- Immediately repeal Doug Ford’s low-wage Bill 124 and recruit, retain and return health care workers.
- Provide Health Sciences North with the $5 million it requested to start the first phase of its expansion.
- Increase hospital budgets to exceed health care inflation, population growth and meet the unique needs of the community around it.
- Immediately hire and recruit 300 doctors in Northern Ontario including 100 specialists and 40 mental health practitioners.
- Create a specific strategy to recruit and retain nurses in Northern Ontario, including opportunities for mentorship to ensure that nurses who work or have worked in Northern communities can provide support and training to nurses newly arriving in Northern Ontario.
- Expand operating room hours over evenings and weekends so people don’t wait in pain for surgery.
- Help seniors live at home longer by overhauling home care.
- Launch Universal Mental Health Care so anyone can get counselling or therapy in the community, instead of ending up in the hospital in crisis.
- Recognize the credentials of 15,000 internationally-trained nurses.
- Work with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario to expedite the process for international medical graduates to obtain their license to work in Northern Ontario.
- Expand access to midwifery care including in Francophone, rural and Indigenous communities and return a midwifery program to Sudbury to support Indigenous and Francophone midwives and families.
- Ensure 24/7 mental health crisis centre is built in Sudbury.
“We cannot allow Doug Ford to cut billions from our health care system,” West said in the media release. “ We cannot go back to the Liberals under Steven Del Duca, who was in cabinet when they froze hospital budgets and fired 1,600 nurses. We don’t have to keep going like this. Together we can fix health care and end hallway medicine at Health Sciences North.”