Monte McNaughton attended the Sydenham District Hospital members meeting in Wallaceburg on Wednesday night, and the Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP said the thoughts and views of the community was crystal clear.
“I think quite clearly the community spoke loud tonight,” McNaughton said.
“They have drawn a line in the sand that there should be a 24 hour, seven day a week, fully functional emergency department in Wallaceburg. That is why I rose in the legislature on Monday, because I have heard the concerns from the community, people closely associated with the hospital, that there is the potential that the ER could close.”
McNaughton directly questioned Dr. Eric Hoskins, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, during the question period… directly asking about the future of Wallaceburg’s ER (watch the video here.)
McNaughton asked the Minister what the future holds for the Sydenham Campus specifically.
“I was disappointed when I asked the question, that the Minister diverted the question and started talking about the Leamington Hospital,” McNaughton said.
“I’m not sure he even knew where Wallaceburg is located. So that concerns me.”
McNaughton said he will be taking the concerns he is hearing from the community and making them be heard in front of the ruling Liberal government.
“I am going to take the concerns of the community to Queens Park, which I have done since I have been elected,” he said.
“I spent the day in the area. We were in Dresden at a Tim Horton’s when a man told me that he spent three hours at the Sydenham Hospital emergency department (the night before.) He talked about his kids and his grandkids and that’s why we need emergency departments in our small towns.”
McNaughton added: “I have been fighting for this hospital long before I was elected and I know the importance of the hospital in the community and the emergency department specifically.”
Do you think that the Province might be punishing this area because of the way they voted in the last election?
McNaughton said there is a problem in Ontario about setting priorities in government.
“We can have a balanced budget, yet an Emergency Department in Wallaceburg, but we can’t continue to waste billions of dollars in moving gas plants and eHealth and Ornge and these problems… that’s the problem,” he said.
“We have a government in power for 13 years, and I would say this about any party that was in power, we have a government in power that has lost touch with the people that they represent. Unfortunately we are seeing cuts to front line patient care in communities across the province.”
As he mentioned during the meeting on Wednesday and on many occasions, McNaughton said the province needs to scrap the Local Health Integration Networks.
“The LHINs are a bureaucratic body that sucked over a half a billion dollars out of front line patient care and communities are paying for that.”
The SDH board is set to gather for another members meeting on April 19, at the UAW Hall in Wallaceburg at 5 p.m.
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