Surgical wait times worsen under Liberal budget cuts and freezes: London MPP

August 15, 2017

LONDON – New numbers released by Health Quality Ontario (HQO) confirmed what many residents have already experiencedfirsthand – London has the longest surgical wait times in the province, and things are only getting worse. 

“Kathleen Wynne just doesn’t get it. She froze hospital budgets for years, and the funding she announced in the last budget to great fanfare doesn’t even keep up with inflation, much less make up for years of cuts,” said London West MPP Peggy Sattler.

Recently published HQO data shows that London has the longest wait time for orthopedic surgery in the province, and more patients are waiting longer than the provincial targets for surgery in 2017 than in 2016. Less than half of all London patients waiting for a hip or knee replacement get it on time, compared to roughly 75 per cent province wide. Overall, the percentage of orthopedic surgeries being done within target wait times in London hospitals has dropped by five per cent or more from 2016 to 2017.

“Our frontline care workers – doctors, nurses, and other professionals – are being asked to do more and more with less and less. Kathleen Wynne isn’t giving them the resources they need to provide care, and patients are paying the price,” said Sattler.

Hospitals in Ontario have been pushed to the breaking point by Liberal and Conservative cuts. The Conservatives fired 6,000 nurses, closed 28 hospitals and slashed over 7,000 hospital beds. Wynne’s Liberals have done even more damage, freezing health care spending for years, and shortchanging hospitals by at least $300 million this year alone.

The NDP has committed to ending hospital cuts and providing strong, predictable base funding for hospitals that will keep up with inflation and population growth, and the unique needs of communities. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has called for a moratorium on layoffs of nurses and frontline care providers and recently introduced her party’s plan to create the Ontario’s first universal pharmacare program, a prescription drug plan that covers everyone regardless of age or income, and is expected to reduce pressure on hospitals and emergency rooms.

“The Wynne Liberals have perpetuated a crisis in health care here in London, and across this province. And it’s only getting worse,” said Sattler. “Ontarians deserve better. New Democrats are committed to providing Ontarians with the care they need, when and where they need it.”