QUEEN’S PARK – Marit Stiles, Leader of the Official Opposition NDP, calls for support for the eight known emergency rooms (ERs) being forced to temporarily close or limit services this weekend across the province due to the Ford Conservative’s staffing crisis.
“We’ve seen closure after closure of Ontario’s emergency rooms this year. This weekend is no exception,” said Stiles. “From Durham to Nipigon to Walkerton, this week, there will be eight ERs across Ontario that will need to close or limit services due to a lack of resources. That’s eight communities and thousands of people that may be left with limited access to timely, nearby care. That’s completely unacceptable—but Ford wants you to think its normal.”
Emergency rooms that are facing temporary closures or limitations this weekend include:
- Chesley ER CLOSED Thursday, July 20—Monday, July 24
- Durham ER CLOSED Friday, July 21—Monday, July 24
- Hamilton General Hospital is diverting ICU patients.
- Kapuskasing’s Sensenbrenner Hospital is seeking urgent ER locum for Tuesday, July 25—Sunday, July 30
- Mount Forest’s Louise Marshall ER CLOSED overnight Thursday, July 20—Friday, July 21
- Nipigon District Memorial Hospital’s Urgent Care Centre CLOSED Wednesday, July 19—Tuesday, July 25
- South Bruce Grey Health Centre is undertaking ambulance by-pass to divert patients
- Walkerton ER CLOSED Saturday, July 22—Sunday, July 23
The Ford government’s systemic starving of the public health care system is leading to longer wait times for emergency rooms and ambulance offload times. In May, just 28% of Ontario patients were admitted within an 8-hour target time. In Ottawa, ambulance code zeroes (no ambulances available) more than doubled in 2022. Essex County declared a state of emergency in 2022 over no ambulances available.
“We are calling on the Ford government to stop privatizing our health care and to instead invest in the public system,” said France Gelinas (Nickel Belt), NDP Health critic. “Our dedicated health care workers are overwhelmed and burnt out. They’re doing their best to keep the lights on, but the situation is just not sustainable.”
Among the Ontario NDP’s solutions to reduce wait times and keep ERs fully resourced:
- Provide access to primary care
- Stabilize the workforce by stopping the appeal repealing Bill 124
- Respect health care workers
- Fund our public hospitals to keep operating rooms and ERs running on evenings and weekends
Yesterday, Ford’s Conservatives announced $44 million for 165 high-volume and smaller emergency departments—break it down, and that's an average of less than $267,000 per hospital.
“That’s a drop in a very leaky bucket,” Stiles said. “Ford’s stashed away $22 billion in ‘excess funds’—public money—while denying Ontarians access to the health care they need.”