In question period on Thursday, Sudbury MPP Jamie West said that Premier Doug Ford is continuing where the Liberals left off, underfunding northern health care and making hospital overcrowding in Sudbury even worse.
Ontario will spend $90 million this year to fund hundreds of hospital beds ahead of flu season, a measure the province's health minister said will help address the issue of so-called hallway medicine. In October last year, the Liberals gave hospitals an additional $100 million before flu season to create roughly 1,200 more hospital beds.
West said this year's funding falls short.
Ford announced $10 million less to fund this year’s flu season than the hospitals received last year, despite the fact that northern hospitals continue to face increased pressure and hospital overcrowding, said a press release from West.
“Health Sciences North has been underfunded for years. Under the previous Liberal government, funding was cut again and again, requiring front-line health care workers to do more and more with less and less,” said West. “Now, with Doug Ford at the helm, the hospital is forced to cut nursing positions and services”.
West said that hospitals need a permanent fix to overcrowding, not temporary half measures from the Liberals and Conservatives.
“Short-term, band-aid funding will not help those front-line workers who are run off their feed all year long, and will not help solve years of neglect,” said West.
“Hospital overcrowding is the number one issue to the people in the riding of Sudbury. We are dealing with a hallway medicine epidemic that impacts patient care all year long, not just during flu season. Our hospitals are stuck making difficult decisions. Our front-line health care workers are doing their best with limited resources, but morale is low and many are left wondering if their jobs will be next on the chopping block. And for patients, that means fewer staff to care for them, and longer waits for everyone.”
West put the question directly to the minister of health during question period.
“Will the minister listen to the people of Sudbury and fund our hospitals properly?” asked West.