QUEEN’S PARK – During question period Tuesday, NDP Health critic France Gélinas demanded that the Ford government develop a strategy to clear the backlog of delayed surgeries and diagnostic procedures, and avoid shutting down completely during the second wave of COVID-19 infections.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has long been calling for a robust and thorough second wave strategy, proposing solutions like capping class sizes, hiring more PSWs in long-term care, and enacting a plan to continue surgeries and diagnostics.
“Government after government has starved our health care system and our hospitals for funding. The long painful waits for procedures were made much longer when Ford failed to put a strategy in place to keep at least some capacity to continue scheduled surgeries and diagnostics during the first wave of COVID-19,” said Gélinas. “Hospitals need more funding and more staff, more nursing, lab and diagnostic hours, and more cleaners to tackle the backlog that’s built up, along with an urgent second wave plan to make sure patients still waiting in pain and worry aren’t devastated by more delays.”
Because the Ford government did not have a contingency plan to continue scheduled procedures during the first wave, the wait list has reached a shocking 84 weeks for important surgeries, and much longer for diagnostic procedures.