‘We can win this’
The Ontario Health Coalition says it is confident it can win a fight to prevent health care mergers and save critical services.
Major province-wide rallies are scheduled in November, including an event in Chatham at the John Bradley Convention Centre on November 2 at 11 a.m.
Representatives from a cross-section of local groups, including Unifor, Walpole Island First Nations, and the Ontario Nurses’ Association attended a news conference at the Chatham Civic Centre Thursday morning to support the cause and call on their members to make their voices heard.
Shirley Roebuck, Co-Chair of the Chatham-Kent Health Coalition, said the provincial government wants to cut health services because it is getting bad advice.
“There’s been no studies done about whether this will be correct or be great for the community,” said Roebuck.
Natalie Mehra, Executive Director of the Ontario Health Coalition, fears paramedic response times will become longer in rural areas because of the proposed cuts.
“In rural areas, the issue is having enough resources to provide enough ambulances to have low wait times for patients and get people quickly to the hospitals,” Mehra said.
Karen Bertrand, Vice-President of the Ontario Nurses’ Association, said the province is not listening to the warnings from front line nurses.
“Nothing that they are doing is evidence-based. I actually don’t believe they have a plan at all,” said Bertrand.
The province plans to merge 35 public health units down to ten, close 49 of 59 ambulance services, and amalgamate 22 ambulance dispatch centres to ten.