QUEEN’S PARK — The NDP is calling on the Conservative government to recognize the crisis in hospitals and take urgent action to staff up, as another rash of emergency department shut downs are scheduled for this weekend and throughout the week.
New closures are taking place at Clinton Public Hospital, Listowel Memorial Hospital, Seaforth Community Hospital, St. Marys Memorial Hospital and Wingham & District Hospital this weekend and in the week ahead. In recent days, Ontario has also seen ER Closures at Perth and Red Lake, and urgent care hours scaled back in Kingston.
“We have reached a tipping point. ERs are being forced to turn off the lights because of low staffing levels,” said NDP Interim Leader Peter Tabuns. “What will families go through in the coming days if dad has chest pain or a child has an accident? Finding the doors to the closest ER locked is a terrifying thought. Rushing hours down the highway to the next closest hospital when every second counts — it’s a living nightmare.
“On behalf of the NDP, I am imploring the Conservative government to recognize that we are in a crisis, and take action to protect people’s lives. We need to recruit new health care staff, attract those who have left the profession, get qualified internationally trained workers into hospitals, and stop the exodus of doctors and nurses that is still happening right now, as we speak.”
Tabuns said health care workers still on the job are run off their feet, exhausted, and are being disrespected by the Doug Ford government, which forced a wage-suppression law, Bill 124, on them. Meanwhile, other provinces have been offering recruitment and retention bonuses, and hospitals in the United States are offering big signing bonuses to attract nurses from places like Ontario.
The NDP is calling for the health staffing crisis to be turned around, starting by:
- Scrapping Bill 124 and paying health care heroes a decent wage
- Expediting recognition of credentials for thousands of internationally educated nurses and doctors
- Addressing horrid working conditions by increasing hospital budgets so there can be enough staff on every shift
- Funding for a major effort to recruit, train, retain and return nurses, doctors and PSWs