Most Ontarians don’t realize that the McGuinty government’s recent “austerity” budget will catapult the health system into another round of cuts and restructuring. With this warning, the Ontario and Kingston Health Coalitions are launching a 15 city tour across Ontario, including a town hall meeting in Kingston, to prepare citizens to stand up and protect local access to health care services.
“The government’s budget for health care is worse than even the most radical of recommendations. With the harsh new budget, the government is planning another major round of cutbacks and restructuring that will particularly hurt patients who need hospital care, nursing home placements, outpatient clinics and long-term care,” said Matthew Gventer, chair of the Kingston Health Coalition.
“We are holding a town hall meeting to discuss the government’s plans and what they might mean for our local communities,” Gventer said. “With the town hall meeting, we will be launching an action plan to protect Kingston’s health services from further cuts.”
“We don’t want to see any more hardship as a result of patients unable to access the care they need,” said Natalie Mehra, director of the Ontario Health Coalition. “We are bringing a new warning about what is coming up, and we are asking residents to join us in the fight-back campaign to protect local access to public health care services.”
“There is no question that we can succeed in protecting needed care in our local communities,” Mehra added. “But to do so, we need to be prepared and vigilant.”
The coalition hopes that all community members who care about preserving public health care services will join the town hall meeting to hear updates about the budget cuts, give their input, and plan the fight-back campaign.
The town hall meeting will be held on Wednesday May 23 at 7:00 pm at Regiopolis-Notre Dame Catholic High School Cafetorium, 130 Russell Street.
Speakers include: Kathleen Lahey BA, JD, LLM, Faculty of Law Queen’s University; Dennis Howlett, Canadians for Tax Fairness; Sara Labelle, OPSEU; and Natalie Mehra, director, Ontario Health Coalition.