Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas continued to put pressure on the Liberal government to take action against overcrowding in Ontario hospitals.
The NDP health critic asked in question period on Wednesday why Leo, a Sudbury man in his early 70s, was forced to spend 13 days in a hospital bathroom after being admitted for a back injury.
Photos of Leo’s show a small bathroom, with the head of Leo’s hospital bed pushed up against a toilet.
Gélinas demanded that the Liberal government take action to reverse the overcrowding crisis that is forcing so many Ontario families into situations like Leo’s.
“Leo spent 13 days in the small, cramped bathroom with a toilet directly behind his head. When I visited him, I couldn’t believe where he was being forced to receive his medical care – I wondered if it was even sanitary,” said Gélinas.
Since May 2016, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has been releasing internal hospital data obtained through Freedom of Information laws showing the severity and breadth of the overcrowding crisis.
Leo’s story is not unique, the NDP said, and Horwath has heard from families in Hamilton, London, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, Ottawa, Windsor and in many other communities across the province about how this overcrowding and hallway medicine crisis has affected them.
“Just last week, the NDP released new internal information showing that the Scarborough hospital reached the alarmingly unsafe occupancy rate of 147 per cent in January,” said Gélinas.
“The Liberals are offering inadequate temporary funding after years of freezes and budget cuts, and the Conservatives closed 28 hospitals and fired 6,000 nurses last time they were government. Now they are promising $6.1 billion in more cuts. Only the NDP is offering hope for change for the better in our hospitals.”
Horwath has promised that an NDP government will fund hospitals at a minimum, to the rate of inflation and population growth, and taking into account the unique needs of each community – things like aging populations.
She has vowed to implement a pharmacare program so that everyone can afford the medicine prescribed by their doctor – which is an upstream solution that will keep Ontarians healthier, and cut down on ER visits.
She has also committed to a moratorium on front-line health care layoffs and a sweeping inquiry into the province's long-term care system.