Watchdog says Ontario’s healthcare system is sick
Published Tuesday, November 13, 2018 1:04PM EST Last Updated Tuesday, November 13, 2018 1:08PM EST
Health care workers, union leaders, politicians and concerned citizens gathered in Sudbury Monday night for a public forum focused on cuts at northern hospitals and how the province needs to deal with the problem.
The message is that Ontario's healthcare system is sick.
Natalie Mehra is the executive director of Ontario Health Coalition, the group who organized the forum.
"The lowest hospital funding now in the country, the least amount of nursing care per patient of anywhere. We move our patients out of hospital faster and therefore sicker." said Mehra.
That's something people in the north say they know all too well.
Members of the public spoke at the gathering:
"I know that they're wasting our money."
"When you're waiting for a test, that means you're not getting treatment."
"Where is that money going? Does anybody have an idea?"
Most of the people in attendance still give high marks to the frontline staff:
"For my son who spent six weeks in intensive care, the care was superb."
But others have been on the receiving end of a hospital that's been cut over and over.
"The room was all filthy. I was put in the dark. I was left in my urine, and I suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). So, when they got me in this dark room for all those hours, I suffered mentally." said someone who participated in the forum over the phone.
Sudbury's hospital, the largest in the region, is at the extreme end when it comes to cutbacks.
"They call it the Titanic, and that's just sad." said one attendee.
But province wide, many more hospitals are taking on water.
And of course Doug Ford and the conservatives came to power at Queen’s Park largely on that promise of ending hallway healthcare.
So just how is the Ford government doing so far?
People on the frontlines in Sudbury say it's much of the same.
"So far all we've seen from the Ford government is cuts, cuts, and more cuts." said Dave Shelafontiuk, of Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1623.
Uncertainty and additional looming cuts have many staff at Sudbury’s hospital on edge.
"The morale at the hospital is pretty bad right now. We're just waiting for the next round of probably layoffs." said Kelly Latimer, a Registered Nurse.
"They cut $335 million from that planned increase in mental health funding." said Mehra.
And people at the forum say if the premier won't stop the hallway healthcare in Sudbury, they're ready to march on Queen's Park.