The science says the Cardiac Fitness Institute should remain open

Queen's Park, March 7th, 2018 - London West MPP Peggy Sattler says that London Health Sciences Centre Cardiac Fitness Institute (CFI) should remain open, and challenged Kathleen Wynne Wednesday in the legislature on why Wynne is defending the plan to shut it down.

“The CFI is vital to Londoners who have suffered a heart attack. Patients of the program have told me that if they had not enrolled at the CFI after their heart attack, they would not be here today,” said Sattler. “Kathleen Wynne’s justification for allowing this program to close just doesn’t hold up. It’s another example of this Liberal government’s unwillingness to invest in health care for London families.”

The premier and her minister of health have defended the closure of the CFI, saying that six months of cardiac rehab – rehab that could include dietary adjustments, consistent exercise and other heart-healthy changes – is all that is needed. But that doesn’t match the scientific evidence. In fact, British research proves otherwise, and a recent Ontario study says the more rehab care patients receive after a cardiac incident, the longer they live. That study was about Healthy Hearts, a cardiac care program in Goderich that was modelled after the CFI.

“The science is there to support the continuation of the program. Why is the premier not there with the funding necessary to help keep this life-saving, life-changing program running at London Health Sciences Centre?” asked Sattler. “London families deserve quality health care, but more and more we are seeing programs like the CFI close, we are seeing longer waits in the ER, cancelled surgeries and hallway medicine – all of these things are symptoms of the overcrowding crisis in Ontario’s hospitals that has hit our community particularly hard.”

Years of cuts by the Liberal and Conservative governments have eroded health care and lengthened wait lists. Since May 2016 the NDP has been releasing information obtained through Freedom of Information showing that many Ontario hospitals operate well over 100 per cent capacity on a regular basis. Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath has promised to tackle the issue – saying that an NDP government would immediately act to end the crisis. Horwath has promised to fund hospitals at minimum to the rate of inflation, population growth and to meet the unique needs of communities.

“We have to stop choosing between Liberal government health care cuts and Conservative government health care cuts,” says Sattler. “It’s time to choose change for the better. Andrea will make sure that London families have the heath care they need, when and where they need it.”