Locals fear further service reductions at NGH
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Nov 1, 2022
QUEEN’S PARK – When will Ontario’s Minister of Health put all qualified healthcare workers back on the frontlines? That was the question Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Bobbi Ann Brady asked in the Ontario Legislature this morning.
During Question Period, MPP Brady informed her colleagues that Norfolk General Hospital, this past Sunday, temporarily reduced services in the emergency department. “…this is a staffing issue and we are just beginning cold and flu season,” Brady said. “…the buck stops with the minister, with this government.”
Over the past 36 hours, Brady said she has been contacted by many constituents who are extremely worried their local hospital will implement further reductions in the weeks and months ahead.
Brady then asked, “Will the minister stand up today and tell every qualified healthcare worker she will do everything possible to get them all back to work in Haldimand-Norfolk and in all hospitals across Ontario to avoid further reductions and shutdowns?”
In her line of questioning, Brady encouraged the government to both scrap Bill 124 (a bill that continues to gut our system of nurses) and to clean up surgical backlog by setting up standalone centres. She also informed the Minister that many retired nurses have told her that returning to a two-year college nursing program would get more people on the frontlines faster.
Health Minister Sylvia Jones agreed that the file was ignored for far too long by the previous Liberal government but that the Ford government is doing everything to ensure that healthcare is protected.
For more information, contact MPP Bobbi Ann Brady at [email protected] or 519-428-0446
YOUTUBE LINK: https://youtu.be/tbUbC8Lw380
ONTARIO LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
NOV. 1, 2022
HEALTH CARE WORKERS
Ms. Bobbi Ann Brady: My question is for the Minister of Health. As we know, Ontario’s health care system is in crisis. To be fair, health care has been in disaster mode for a long time, but you are the government of the day and it’s up to you to fix it.
Speaker, this government must restore respect by scrapping Bill 124, a bill that continues to gut our system of nursing. It’s time to clean up surgical backlogs by setting up standalone centres. I’ve spoken to many retired nurses who believe that returning to a two-year college nursing program would get more people on the front lines faster. That’s part of a plan, and yet all I hear and see from this government on this file is tinkering.
Health care workers have lost faith in their profession and have left. They continue to leave and others have been sidelined. I haven’t seen any action with respect to enticing health care workers back to the front lines. As we watch Ontario’s hospitals bleed out, what does the minister have to say for those who’ve lost faith or who have been forced to watch from the sidelines?
Hon. Sylvia Jones: Minister of Health and Deputy Premier.
Hon. Sylvia Jones: Thank you, Speaker. I’m always happy to talk about our plans to stay open. It is frankly a very important tenet of how we are making sure that our hospitals, our long-term care and our community care are working at full capacity so they can look after the individuals who need help, where they need it, when they need it. We have worked very well with the College of Nurses of Ontario. In fact, we have over 1,000 new internationally educated RNs who are licensed and practising in the province of Ontario because of the changes our government has made.
The member opposite is right on one thing. The member opposite is right one point, and that is that this file was ignored for far too long. We have Auditor General reports saying that we had a shortage of family physicians in northern Ontario. Did the government of day do anything? No. It took Premier Ford and this government to act and make the changes needed to make sure that our health care system is protected.
Ms. Bobbi Ann Brady: Speaker, that response is a bit disappointing because the member opposite should have said she will do everything possible to get every qualified worker back on the front lines. We need them all, and we need them today.
Sunday night, one of my local hospitals, Norfolk General, issued a statement that effective immediately, services in the emergency department could be temporarily reduced. This is a staffing issue, and we’re just at the beginning of cold and flu season. The release issued by the hospital said, and I quote, “This temporary reduction in hours is necessary and is beyond the control of the hospital and physicians in the community.”
This means the buck stops with the minister, with this government. Over the past 36 hours, my constituents have been reaching out to me. They are worried they are going to see more of these reductions in the coming weeks and months. Will the minister stand up today and tell every qualified health care worker that she will do everything possible get them all back to work in Haldimand–Norfolk and in all hospitals across Ontario to avoid further reductions and shut downs?
Hon. Sylvia Jones: This question gives me an opportunity to highlight some of the things that have already occurred as we talk about short, medium and long-term goals. We have, with our plan to stay open, added over 6,000 more health care workers, including nurses and personal support workers to Ontario’s health resource workforce. We will free up 2,500 hospital beds so that care is there for those who need it, and we will expand models of care that provide better, more appropriate care to avoid unnecessary visits to emergency departments.
There is no doubt that our government is seized with this issue. It is happening internationally across other country interests, across Canadian jurisdictions to make sure that we have sufficient health human resources, but we’re doing the work here in Ontario to make sure that people who want to practise and work in the health care system have that opportunity here in Ontario.