Rally against hospital privatization held at MPP’s office

A rally was held outside of MPP Bob Bailey's office. November 3, 2022 (Photo by Natalia Vega)

The Sarnia-Lambton Ontario Health Coalition is emphasizing growing concerns regarding the privatization of Ontario’s hospitals.

A rally was held outside of MPP Bob Bailey’s office Thursday afternoon in Point Edward.

Co-chairs Shirley Roebuck and June Weiss led the local rally, about one week after the Ontario Health Coalition held a media conference at Queen’s Park on October 26.

Roebuck said prior to the provincial election, Premier Doug Ford “and his inner group” denounced the idea of hospital privatization.

In August, privatization concerns grew after Ford said the government would be “exploring all options” to fix the health care crisis. Shortly after, the provincial government introduced a five-point plan, which included an increase in publicly covered surgeries and procedures at private clinics.

“The facts are, they’re about halfway through granting new long-term care beds to private for-profit long-term care businesses. Home care is almost completely privatized, and Doug Ford has announced funding for private for-profit surgical clinics,” said Roebuck. “I understand that political parties sort of twist the truth — if you will — before elections but they shouldn’t be allowed to outright lie.”

Roebuck said if more private clinics are set up in large cities, there are concerns about what could happen to the public services in small communities.

“If they (surgeons, operating room nurses, etc.) leave to go to work for these private clinics, it will extend the wait times for those of us in Sarnia that want to utilize public health care,” said Roebuck.

A rally was held outside of MPP Bob Bailey’s office. November 3, 2022 (Photo by Natalia Vega)

Members from other unions attended Thursday’s rally in support of the health coalition.

CUPE Local 557 President of Long-Term Care Debra Maxfield said she wanted to put a spotlight on what the government is doing, not only within the health care system but in long-term care as well.

“I work in long-term care, I see what’s happening. We’re working short every day, we can’t keep staff, the morale is down, you talk about the PSW wage enhancement, so we’re here to show our support as well for the Ontario Health Coalition,” said Maxfield.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union also held a press conference this week to call on the Ford government to address the hospital staffing crisis within the public system.