NDP’s Sattler Calls on Premier to Authorize Project to Help London Mental Health Patients

Queen’s Park – After the minister of health refused to sign off last week on a London project that would help thousands of London mental health patients, MPP Peggy Sattler (London West) took the question straight to the premier.

“While this government fails to show leadership to address London’s mental health crisis, my community is looking for solutions, such as the innovative project between London health providers and emergency service personnel that would immediately help Londoners in need of mental health care,” Sattler said.

Nearly two years ago, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), CMHA crisis centre, and Middlesex-London EMS partnered on an ER diversion project to move mental health patients from the emergency department to the CMHA crisis centre. Provincial legislation, however, only allows the province to fund ambulance transfer directly to a public hospital, not to a community-based crisis centre.

“All this project requires is the health minister’s sign-off to fund the EMS transfer of non-acute mental health patients directly to the crisis centre, rather than to the hospital,” Sattler said. “The project would ensure that 3,000 patients get the care they need each year and save $2.5 million annually, money that is desperately needed in the community.

“Will the premier direct the minister of health to sign off on this project today?”

When MPP Sattler raised the question in the legislature last week, the minister of health flatly refused. He repeated again that he would not approve the project.

“This government has had two years to figure out how to make this project happen,” Sattler said. “Why is this Liberal government refusing to support the efforts that London is making to deal with this urgent and ongoing crisis?”

A CTV investigation found that the need for the London project has never been greater, with LHSC’s psychiatric ER at 152 per cent capacity and 26 mental health patients waiting for beds.