HAMILTON – The NDP says the time has come for the Ontario government to start investing in our health care system again, after years of Liberal budget cuts and freezes have left hospitals overcrowded, and scrambling to address mounting demand for care.
This week, reports detailed the extreme measures being taken by Hamilton area hospitals: Hamilton Health Sciences is being forced to cut another $20 million while St. Jospeh’s Healthcare is being forced to cut $7 million.
“Patient care has already been seriously impacted by the Wynne government’s cuts to health care,” said NDP Health critic France Gélinas. “People in pain wait hours in emergency rooms and admitted patients spend days on gurneys in hallways. Years of cuts, underfunding and frozen budgets at the hands of Wynne and the Liberals have done deep damage to the health care that families count on.
“The Conservatives certainly started this crisis by firing 6,000 nurses, closing 28 hospitals and slashing over 7,000 hospital beds – and Wynne just keeps pushing Ontario further down the same bad road. We need investment in care, not more Conservative and Liberal cuts.”
Hospitals throughout the province were already struggling with overcrowding, long waits and hallway medicine when Kathleen Wynne shortchanged them by at least another $300 million in the provincial budget released in March.
Hamilton Health Sciences alone has sustained $120 million in further cuts just since 2011, thanks to years of Wynne’s budget freezes. Hospital officials say that additional funding offered in the last budget fails to even keep up with inflation, and will do nothing to address the crisis.
“Hamilton families can’t take any more cuts to their care,” said Monique Taylor, the NDP MPP for Hamilton Mountain. “Can you imagine if that was your mom left on a gurney in a noisy and crowded hallway, uncomfortable and given no privacy at all? Can you imagine how it feels to be in an ER waiting room with your little one, worried sick but being forced to wait hour after hour?
“Too many Hamilton families know these heartbreaking frustrations, and with these cuts it’s only going to get worse.”