Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath spoke with nurses from London, Ont. at Courtyard Marriott to find out how the province’s health care budget cuts affected the province’s hospitals.
“I don’t think anybody in London particularly needs to know or needs to be told that the health care system is falling apart,” she said during a media scrum in the lobby, “We continue to see nurses and nursing positions cut, beds being shut down, patients who are bearing the front of it as well as nurses. It’s a very bad situation.”
She adds the nurses said the volume in the psychiatric emergency room is overflowing, where patients are placed either in a conference room or the hallways. “We heard about violence that was experienced by the nurses, stress levels that are being experienced by nurses. It was not a pretty picture, I can tell you that.”
Horwath also went to a nurses rally in Hamilton and will be in Northwestern Ontario to talk to nurses about how they are affected by the budget cuts. However, she says the hospitals are in crisis no matter where she visits.
“I was at a meeting in Toronto and someone actually described a hallway in the hospital, where people were lined up in stretchers, and on the wall it said ‘Hallway Room Number One’, ‘Hallway Room Number Two’. They’re actually labeling the hallways as if they were rooms. That’s completely unacceptable.”
She says budget cuts have sliced through Ontario’s health care for the past few years, including a 1% provincial budget increase last week as inflation sits at 1.8%.
Horwath wants Ontarians to write to their MPPs on this issue, so they can get the improved health care they want. She says Ontario’s NDP Party will continue to raise the issue in the Ontario Legislature, and wants the government to take action.
“From my perspective, our Premier Kathleen Wynne needs to actually listen to the professionals, listen to the people on the front lines as well as the patients,” she says, “Both those groups of people, patients and nurses, are telling the government the same thing.”