Ontarians worried about cuts to the budgets of small hospitals in rural and Northern Ontario took their issue to Queen's Park today.
NDP Health and Long-Term Care Critic France Gélinas says years of funding reductions have pushed such facilities "to the brink of disaster."
“Today, busloads of Ontarians have joined us at Queen’s Park, " states Gélinas in a news release. "They come from small, rural and Northern communities. They are here to bring attention to the deep cuts their hospitals are facing, in communities like Picton, Prince Edward County, Chatham, Wallaceburg, Perth, Smiths Falls, Iroquois Falls, Quinte West, St. Joseph and Manitoulin Islands, and the list goes on.”
Despite government claims to the contrary, residents and stakeholders say many of their hospitals are being forced to cut services as they try to stay afloat, Gélinas said.
She called on Health Minister Deb Matthews to address the looming crisis.
“Does the minister think it is her responsibility to provide hospital services to all Ontarians, or only those living in urban areas? Is the minister going to listen to the people who are here, who made the trip from rural, Northern and small communities, and finally work to protect these unique and vital small, rural and Northern hospitals?”