HAMILTON — Ontario NDP MPPs Andrea Howarth (Hamilton Centre), Monique Taylor (Hamilton Mountain), Sandy Shaw (Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas) and Paul Miller (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek) have written to Doug Ford requesting urgent action to support Hamilton hospitals, which are struggling under the strain of Omicron cases and low staffing.
Full text below.
January 25th, 2022
Premier Doug Ford
Queen’s Park, Room 281
111 Wellesley St. West
Toronto, ON M7A 1A4
We are writing you today to urge you to act and support Hamilton’s hospitals and the families here who rely on them.
In recent weeks, Hamilton’s hospitals have had to make difficult decisions and take extraordinary measures to maintain delivery of critical services. They are being stretched beyond capacity while struggling with staffing shortages and numerous COVID-19 outbreaks. The healthcare system in Hamilton is under immense strain.
As we write this, the intensive care unit at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH) is operating at 104% capacity. Further, Hamilton Health Sciences’ west end urgent care centre has been closed since January 17, and SJHH’s urgent care centre has had to cut its hours dramatically. These are necessary services for our city that have been reduced or temporarily cut due to COVID-19 and increased staffing shortages. Our hospitals and healthcare services in Hamilton need support.
We want to see the restrictions eased safely next week; our hospitals and healthcare services must be considered. Despite the first step of the new reopening plan set to start next week, non-emergency surgeries and procedures will not be resuming due to high ICU admissions and hospitalizations. The increased strain on our hospital care and our healthcare system needs to be urgently addressed. This will not just work itself out.
We have continuously called on this re-opening to come with other protection measures, including 10 permanent paid sick days for all and broader access to COVID-19 testing. Non-emergency services need to resume, and this government must share their plan for how this will be achieved. Further, we must shore up Hamilton’s health care workforce by revoking Bill 124, providing premium pay to staff and recognizing the accreditations of internationally educated nurses and doctors.
Hamilton’s hospitals and healthcare service providers are struggling due this government’s inaction. Reopening the province without providing additional protections or shoring up our health care staffing could lead to disaster. Hamiltonians need and deserve urgent action from your government.
We look forward to your timely response on this matter.
Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Official Opposition New Democrats, MPP Hamilton Centre
Monique Taylor, MPP Hamilton Mountain
Sandy Shaw, MPP Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas
Paul Miller, MPP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek