My Statement on Unacceptable Surgical Wait Times

Ms. Peggy Sattler: On October 19, 2016, the Minister of Health was asked why the people of London must wait longer for orthopaedic surgery than other Ontarians. He said: “I am working with the South West LHIN, with the hospitals involved in the London area as well, and I expect in the very near future we will have arrived at a solution …”

Well, Speaker, five months later wait times in London are still unacceptably long. My office continues to be inundated with complaints from people who are waiting months and even years for surgery. The ministry’s own wait times website shows that Londoners wait 35% longer than the provincial average, and that’s after their initial consultation, which often takes months to secure.

Speaker, it is clear that wait times in London are not a priority for this government. Underfunding and arbitrary caps on the number of surgeries that can be performed has resulted in specialists closing their offices even as hospital operating rooms sit empty.

We are at a critical moment. If the minister will not take action, I will. Earlier this year I wrote to the Patient Ombudsman to urge an investigation by her office, presenting her with a long list of examples of Londoners who are suffering. Whether she investigates or not, you can be sure that I will continue to raise this issue in the Legislature. My constituents deserve more than empty promises. They deserve real solutions. Thank you.