December 6th, 2023
QUEEN’S PARK – Following the release of the Auditor General’s Annual Report, MPP Michael Mantha made the following statement about the light it shed on the state of Northern healthcare:
“Today’s Auditor General report shows us in black and white the level of neglect that this government has for our publicly funded hospitals and healthcare facilities in Northern Ontario.
The report outlined ongoing closures in hospital services across the North, hundreds of patients waiting for long-term care and home-care services who are stuck in hospital, Northern communities struggling to fundraise for diagnostic imaging equipment with out ministry support, and a failure to account for Northern Ontario’s unique healthcare needs in the government’s provincial strategies.
It also revealed that under this government more and more money is going to private, for-profit staffing agencies which cost us all up to three times more for the same services. Between 2018 and 2023 the use of agency nurses increased 25 times for northern hospitals. The 29 hospitals surveyed in the report spent around $78 million on agency staff in 2023 alone.
We now see beyond a doubt that communities in Northern Ontario are being underserved by the Ford government when it comes to healthcare. With many small and rural hospitals facing growing financial strain and patients waiting longer to receive care in the North it’s time to act.
I’m calling on the Minister of Health to commit to implementing all the recommendations of the Auditor General’s report. Create a funded healthcare plan that addresses the unique needs of communities in Northern Ontario and ensure Northerners have timely and patient-centred care wherever they live.”