Andrea Horwath’s Official Opposition NDP will force a vote in the legislature on Monday on funding and a strategy to tackle the overwhelming backlog of surgeries.
Horwath will move the following motion on Monday, Feb. 28:
ADDRESSING SURGICAL BACKLOG
Whereas it has been estimated that up to a million Ontarians have been forced to postpone surgeries including cancer surgeries, heart bypass surgeries and knee and hip replacements, and people have been forced to delay cancer screenings, CT and MRI scans and other medically necessary procedures – and many will have to wait almost three years before receiving care; and
Whereas more than 80% of Ontarians have listed the backlog of services among their top healthcare concerns; and
Whereas Ontarians in rural areas are often forced to wait even longer than those in urban areas for treatment, and are regularly required to leave their communities for care; and
Whereas the former Liberal government froze hospital budgets and cut 1,600 nurses, and the Ford government’s failure to adequately fund hospitals and community clinics only worsened the impact of the pandemic; and
Whereas the Ford government’s 2021 budget promised less than half of the funding Ontario’s Financial Accountability Officer and the Ontario Medical Association identified as necessary to clear the surgical backlog in 2021; and
Whereas the cost of the backlog has likely grown as a result of additional surgical delays brought about by the January 2022 directive to cancel 8,000-10,000 surgeries and procedures during the Omicron wave;
Therefore the Legislative Assembly calls on the Ford government to: follow the advice of Ontario’s Financial Accountability Officer and immediately allocate a minimum of $1.3B in new funding to address the backlog; work in consultation with communities and locally-based service providers to develop and implement a strategy to provide additional funding and supports necessary to address health care needs in rural and small-town Ontario, and extend support for local hospitals and community clinics via a healthcare hiring strategy that includes the repeal of Bill 124.