London families continue to face overcrowded hospitals and cancelled surgeries

Queen’s Park, February 26, 2018 – In question period on Monday, London West NDP MPP Peggy Sattler said hospital overcrowding and cancelled surgeries continue at the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), putting London families at risk.

Sattler noted that London resident Chris Punter’s heart surgery was postposed four times and he is still waiting.

“He was scheduled to go to University Hospital for what his surgeon expects will be a quadruple bypass on February 9,” said Sattler. “Today he is still waiting for this lifesaving surgery. It’s been postponed four times because the hospital is just too overcrowded to do it. A university hospital VP put the blame squarely on the overcrowding crisis when she was asked why Mr. Punter’s surgery has been delayed.”

“Does the Acting Premier think that it is okay to keep Chris Punter waiting for his lifesaving heart surgery?” asked Sattler.

Sattler also spoke about Danny Marchand, a London resident who was forced to wait nearly two weeks in a Collingwood hospital before he could have surgery in his hometown.

“It took 11 days for Danny to secure a bed in his hometown of London so he could get the surgery he needed after a skiing accident in Collingwood. We’ve heard from families in London, in Hamilton, in Toronto, [and] in Sudbury,” said Sattler. “How can this Liberal government continue to deny that hospital overcrowding is a crisis?”

Documents obtained by the NDP reveal that medicine and surgical bed occupancy rates were regularly above 100 per cent capacity at LHSC from May to September 2017. London Fanshawe NDP MPP Teresa Armstrong said that today’s crisis stems from years of cuts and underfunding of hospitals.

“The last time the Conservatives were in office they fired 6,000 nurses and closed 28 hospitals – Ontario’s health care system has not been the same since,” said Armstrong. “Over the past 15 years, the Liberals continued where the Conservatives left off, underfunding hospitals by $300 million this year alone. London families don’t need to settle for this anymore—there’s a better way forward.”]

Andrea Horwath and the NDP have a plan that offers hope to London families struggling to access health care that they can count on. New Democrats will fund hospitals to inflation, population growth and the unique needs of each community like London. Unlike consecutive Conservative and Liberal governments, the NDP will stop the firing of front line health care workers. New Democrats will also ensure all families can get the medicine that they need with true pharmacare, a prescription drug plan for everyone.

“Kathleen Wynne had years to address the hospital overcrowding crisis but only made things worse. New Democrats are ready to do something about this and get good things done for London families,” said Sattler.