On Thursday, Jamie-Lee Ball – a patient turned patient-advocate after a horrific experience in an Ontario hospital – joined Andrea Horwath at Queen’s Park to fight for an end to hallway medicine. Together, they called on Premier Kathleen Wynne to make it a priority to undo the damage she’s done in hospitals.
On March 25, Ball was rushed to Brampton Civic Hospital with internal bleeding, where she was left on a stretcher in a hallway for five days.
“I’m speaking out and reliving my nightmare because I am shocked and furious that the government is not doing more to stop this from happening,” said Ball. “I thought the provincial budget was an opportunity to fix this – but by pinning hospital funding to no more than inflation and far less than hospitals need, the government is not even moving in the right direction. More patients are going through what I did – and it has to stop.”
Premier Kathleen Wynne's latest budget falls more than $300 million short of what hospitals say they need to maintain current service levels. Years of cuts have led to chronic overcrowding in Ontario hospitals, leaving patients stuck in hallways, storage rooms, and even shower rooms. Now, the problem is destined to get worse.
Horwath said it’s time for Wynne to start listening to patients like Ball.
“The hallway medicine Jamie-Lee and so many others have experienced simply shouldn’t be happening in Ontario in 2017,” said Horwath. “But the sad fact is that it’s happening more and more, and this year’s budget is only going to make it worse. Kathleen Wynne is not even undoing the damage she’s done to Ontario’s hospitals. We’re calling on her to turn that around. Patients should not have to wait for the next election for an end to this gridlock.”
In 2016, Horwath revealed that hospitals throughout the province were regularly far above the recommended maximum of 85 per cent capacity – some reaching as high as 130 per cent. Despite the problems, the Wynne Liberals still continued their cuts, including the elimination of 1,600 nursing positions.
“Ontario patients deserve health care they can count on. They deserve medical help when they’re in pain – not an uncomfortable chair and a long wait,” said Horwath. “By shortchanging hospitals by over $300 million, Premier Wynne is pushing the province into an even worse situation. The cuts and underfunding have to end and real investments have to start if we’re going to undo the damage of the Wynne years.”