They won’t give up without a fight.
Dozens of protestors gathered outside the office of Deb Matthews, Liberal MPP for London North Centre, to challenge the London Health Sciences Centre’s (LHSC) recent decision to close down the Cardiac Fitness Institute (CFI).
The CFI operates out of Victoria Hospital and provides patients with the tools to lead healthy lifestyles including diet and fitness regimes, as well as counselling services after a major cardiac event. The CFI has been in operation since 1981 under the direction of Dr. Larry Patrick.
Despite the long term success of the CFI, the hospital announced they would no longer fund the $150,000 in annual costs to run the program, with its closure expected by the end of the month. Protestors are disappointed by the provincial government’s refusal to provide funding, as Liberal party members like Deb Matthews, continue to refer to provincial standards which dictate the necessity for only six months of care after a major cardiac event. Many protestors cite the increased privatization of healthcare as an issue plaguing programs like the CFI.
One of the individuals responsible for organizing the event, Jeff Hanks, the Co-chair of the London Health Coalition speaks to the economics and public health benefits of the CFI.
“It costs about $150,000 a year but saves millions of dollars in heart procedures that are not needed, keeps heart patients out of our crowded emergency rooms, helps lower wait times for the rest of us, and frees up hospital beds.” -Jeff Hanks
Among those in attendance were many former and current patients of the CFI as well as local labour union representatives and NDP MPP candidate for London North Centre, Terence Kernaghan. The protests are set to continue around various locations in the city in hopes of reversing the LHSC’s decision.