MPP Paul Miller speaking up for nurses and health advocates
My article from the Stoney Creek News in September:
Dear Friends and Neighbours,
It has been an excellent summer. With the Ontario Legislature in recess, I have been fortunate to be able to spend even more time in our wonderful area of Hamilton East and Stoney Creek. I’ve talked with many of you out and about at various events, including the Winona Peach festival, and at my constituency office. It has been really great to get to know you and your concerns that much better. If ever you need to talk, feel free to drop by my office. My door is always open!
In this article, I really want to focus on a very serious issue that needs to be addressed: funding shortfalls for hospitals in the Hamilton area. Over the past few years, I have heard some heart-wrenching stories about our medical care system failing patients. How has this problem continued on for so long? Delayed ambulances, nursing shortages, hallway medicine, lengthy wait times for surgery; these are just some of the things that have prevented people from receiving the service that they need and deserve. Ironically, it’s enough to make one feel sick.
Well, the brutal reality is that this situation is about to get a lot worse. Despite recent announcements from the Liberals that more money is coming, Hamilton’s hospitals and medical research facilities are actually going to see their funding cut to the tune of $27,000,000 this year. Since 2011, Hamilton Health Sciences have been especially hard hit, having been required to cut costs by $120,000,000.
As a member of the NDP, I am proud that our party is not standing for this. We are holding the Liberals’ feet to the fire, calling on them to start investing in our health care system. The NDP has committed to placing a moratorium on further layoffs of nurses and frontline health care professionals. We will cease cuts to hospitals and ensure, at a minimum, that funding keeps up with inflation, population increases, and our city and province’s unique health needs. We also believe home-care and universal pharmacare must be given more priority in a time when Ontario’s population is aging. It is important to note that the Liberal phramacare program is a half measure. Anyone between the ages of 25 and 65 are not covered.
My NDP colleagues and I refuse to accept that an already underfunded heath system needs to be cut down to the bone. Citizens pay taxes with the expectation that they will receive the necessary services to live comfortable lives and have access to quality medical care. It is up to this government to hold up their end of the bargain; to provide these essential services.
I am optimistic that one day, this will change. That Ontario won’t just focus on putting out ‘medical funding’ fires as they ignite, but invest in Hamilton’s healthcare system for the long term. The reality is that we need better healthcare in this city. Our lives depend on it.
MPP for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek