Closing the CFI and telling Londoners to settle for American health care standards is beyond troubling

QUEEN’S PARK, February 21, 2018—In question period on Wednesday, London West NDP MPP Peggy Sattler was shocked that the Minister of Health not only defended the closure of the Cardiac Fitness Institute (CFI) but told Londoners that even six months of cardiac care is too much, citing the American standard of just three months.

“After the last Conservative government laid off 6,000 nurses and closed 28 hospitals, Liberal underfunding of health care has only made things worse,” said Sattler. “Just since the Premier was sworn in, London Health Sciences Centre has been forced to cut $141 million from its overall budget—the equivalent of 488 full-time jobs. In December, the hospital announced its latest cut: the closure of the Cardiac Fitness Institute (CFI).

“This closure means that any new cardiac patients in London will be referred to the six-month provincially funded cardiac program at St. Joseph’s Health Care, but long-term CFI patients will be out of luck. There is no evidence to support a six-month cardiac rehab program and the LHSC admits there is no data comparing outcomes between the long-term CFI program and the short-term program at St. Joe’s.

“If the Premier believes in evidence-based policy, will she intervene to fund the CFI until a comprehensive analysis of CFI outcomes has been conducted?” asked Sattler.

Sattler was floored when Health Minister Eric Hoskins responding by telling families that even six months of care is too much, stating that London families should be happy with the American health care standard of just three months of cardiac care. A British study showed that cardiac patients who participated in a three-year rehab program were 60 per cent more likely to be alive 14 years later than those who participated in a one-year program, which is no surprise to London cardiac patients who say they are alive today because of the CFI.

“London families deserve cardiac care as long as they need it,” said Sattler. “Telling Londoners to be happy with low American health care standards is beyond troubling, and may signal even more cuts for a Liberal government that’s already done so much damage to the health care services that families rely on.”