Wake Up People, Before All Of What’s Left Of Our Access To Quality Public Health Care Is Gone!

A Comment from Linda McKellar, a retired health care worker and Niagara,Ontario resident living in the Town of Fort Erie

Posted September 22nd, 2016 on Niagara At Large

This past Tuesday, September 20th, I had occasion to go to the “marvellous” (sarcasm) new St Catharines hospital from Fort Erie for the first time.

A sunny day, late morning, not rush hour, no accidents, some construction, but it took almost an hour. Lots of traffic on the adjacent streets and numerous stoplights to go through. ER wait time was listed as four hours, which I realize is inconvenient but not dastardly for non urgent issues.

The Grim Reaper in this 2010 rally to save the Fort Erie Hospital ultimately got his way. That hospital is now a shell of what it was a decade ago. File photo by Doug Draper

The Grim Reaper in this 2010 rally to save the Fort Erie Hospital ultimately got his way. That hospital is now a shell of what it was a decade ago. File photo by Doug Draper

I had to wait for someone to leave to find a parking space costing $8. (Even staff pay for parking. Imagine demanding GM employees pay for parking so they could go to work!).

Meanwhile, I’m SO glad I wasn’t sick myself or having a major acute incident of any type. Lovely lobby but who cares? If I want a lovely lobby I can go to a Hilton or the Savoy. Also interesting that it is adjacent to a rail line carrying who knows what? The bed space is less than in the hospitals it replaced.

Meanwhile, Fort Erie (the one-time hospital there) is reduced to a clinic and palliative care (where people are sent to die, often from other communities inaccessible to their elderly loved ones) and Port Colborne is reduced to a clinic. Even a lot of equipment acquired through local donations to the auxiliaries were pilfered for other sites.

Next will be Welland.

The only reason Fort Erie and Port Colborne have ANY remnant of what they once had was due to protests by locals. Welland has had services cut. Niagara Falls the same.

I’ll be long dead before I see any new hospital in south Niagara, maybe BECAUSE there will be no new hospital. WE DON’T MATTER.

The care you get depends on where you live and who you are. Many are sent home too early and end up as readmissions due to relapses or infections. Where’s the economy in that? Often the caretakers they are sent home to are elderly spouses incapable of providing the necessary care.

In recent years, the Ontario Health Coalition has held several demonstrations to save hospitals and publily funded health services across the province.

In recent years, the Ontario Health Coalition has held several demonstrations to save hospitals and publily funded health services across the province.

The site of the new St Catharines hospital could have been much more central and accessible but couldn’t have that! No doubt somebody made big money from placing it on its current site.

Public input and suggestions by medical professionals were totally ignored and promises by Queen Sevenfigures about maintaining the community hospitals as “full service” were total lies and she knew it. Where is she now?

This is all about politics. I truly believe that lobbyists are greasing many palms to cut services and then can claim; “Oh my god, the system isn’t working! We need to get private insurance!”

This has been the goal of big multinational insurance companies since our universal system took its first breaths. They’re still trying with the same propaganda and tactics.

Read the history of our struggles to get universal care. Let us pray they never succeed.

Rallies I attended in Toronto were virtually IGNORED in the news (except on CHCH) despite their size and the myriad communities protesting, Guelph, Cambridge, the Sault, Kingston, Stratford, North Bay, Ottawa, Winsor, Sarnia, communities all over the province.

Currently a doctor in British Columbia is trying to sue the government saying that not allowing private medical services is against the Charter of Rights.

Wonder who is encouraging (and maybe financially backing) him. Biggest cause of bankruptcies in the US? You guessed it. Forty-two percent are due to unpaid medical bills. A travesty.

Wake up Welland.

Wake up all communities in Ontario that will lose their local hospitals. Attend these meetings and rallies. WE need to take back the right to have equality in health care, not just the wealthy or those in the big cities. We deserve it. Everyone deserves it.

The Following List of Public Meetings, including one scheduled for the Niagara community of Welland on Wednesday, September 28th, was compiled by the Ontario Health Coalition, a citizens’ advocacy group for quality public health care across the province.

Upcoming Local Health Coalition Meetings Across Ontario

Attend a meeting near you!

Durham Health Coalition Meeting’ Monday September 26, 7 p.m., Unifor Local 222, 1425 Phillip Murray Ave, Oshawa

Oxford Health Coalition Meeting, Tuesday September 27, 7 p.m., 70 Glenn Ave, Sweaburg, South-West Oxford

Stratford and Area Concerned Citizens’ Meeting, Wednesday September 28, 5 p.m., For details about location, please contact Haldie Wicke 519-275-0185

Welland Save Our Hospital Meeting, Wednesday September 28, 6:30 p.m., Welland City Hall (Community Room), 60 Main St.

Thunder Bay Health Coalition Meeting, Wednesday October 12, 5 p.m., United Way of Thunder Bay, 1006 – 715 Hewitson St.

Niagara At Large now encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie quote below. A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who share their first and last name with them.

“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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3 responses to “Wake Up People, Before All Of What’s Left Of Our Access To Quality Public Health Care Is Gone!

  1. Glad to see you are still active in Niagara, Linda. Makes me nostalgic. A well done piece. Hope the people of Welland are successful in saving the basics of their once excellent hospital.

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  2. Linda
    Conservative Mike Harris began this slide into infamy, followed by Liberal McGinty and his goon squad (Including Wynne) who quickened the slide. Ralph Nader the American Consumer advocate stated once “It matter NOT which party one votes for REPUBLICAN (Conservative) or DEMOCRAT (Liberal) for they are both CORPORATE sponsored and literally OWNED by the Greedy Corporate Community and as such will rubber stamp the agenda of the OWNERS and to hell with the blue collared, the disabled and the poorer sector of our population.
    (1)I had a young couple living across the street, she was pregnant and went to our so called hospital in St Catharines….She spent 55 hours in LABOR and after the baby finally was born the baby needed Special care …..BUT our CENTER OF EXCELLENCE as they the NHS (No Health Service) so proudly call it could NOT provide it and the baby and mother were shipped off to LONDON. The Baby survived in spite of the NHS ………..Thank God
    (2) I had an elderly tenant who during a Colonoscopy exam at the Welland it was found he had CANCER and two and a half feet of intestine had to be removed (Dr Willard) He was immediately released and sent home only to within a day or so have to be rushed back to the Welland Hospital whatever they did he was released and sent home again and the CCAC basically took over his life..His surgical area would not heal and for over three years this man had only the CCAC team taking care of him…FINALLY it got to the point where he was once again brought into the Welland Hospital and the following day shipped out to the Port Colbourne (Oct 21st) where HE assigned me as his contacts person…(I did look after his needs and in fact took him to the bank and to an apartment he hoped to rent, an apartment with an elevator????) I visited as often as possible and his decline was apparent as he was drugged constantly especially during the week end. He then caught a supper bug and was in isolation in his room. November went by then December …he was almost always drugged to where he was completely out of it his leg had got blotchy and was turning black then in January 2015 I visited him on the 11th the 12th and the 13th during this time I noticed he toes on his right leg were black, withered and literally falling off..I knew it was just a matter of hours and at 9;50 that evening I got a call from the Port Colbourne Hospital telling me he had passed away..January 13th my Birthday
    Important Point Dr. Peter Willard had been removed from his case earlier and he was under the care of an NHS Oncologist who I had never seen during his time in Port Colbourne.

    Since then I have had two Surgeries one in Hamilton and the other in Toronto NO way will I ever even visit the Morgue in St Catharines

    So Linda you are not alone in you condemnation of the NHS EMPIRE

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    • I agree with you Joseph. All political parties are to blame, all will take money for favours and I do believe there is a concerted effort to eliminate universal care or at least create a two tier system because so much money is to be made by private insurers. That is why the government is abrogating its duty. Can you spell pay offs? This is not a conspiracy theory but an actual conspiracy. As I said, the same propaganda was used from day one. I suggest watching the You Tube “Canadian Health Care vs American Health Care” a brief video 2 minute with Dennis Kucinich. A real eye opener on the propaganda machine. It proves that, although our system is deteriorating, it is still better than the US and it is being destroyed by outside sources on purpose.

      For 3 consecutive years, profits by health insurance companies in the US went up by at least 56% (ABC News). They want a share of our market and will bribe and cajole politicians to get it. Cut services. Centralize services. That leaves the majority hung out to dry. For those who can afford the best care, we will get it. For those in peripheral areas or without the means for private insurance, too bad. It’s a disgrace.

      Private insurance must make profit. Costs are from 2 to 10 times higher in the US according to “The Health Care Racket ” – (Ralph Nader) and international health care stats. Basically, retail with all its incumbent costs vs wholesale. Same product. Half the price. Not rocket science.

      I worked in the system for 40 years and it WORKED well 20 years ago but it has gone downhill faster than a fat guy on a bungee chord. Now it’s all administrators and fancy titles who do nothing. Even the administrators don’t administrate, they just hire expensive consultants to do what they are being paid to do themselves (and they screw things up even worse)…..eg, Jack Kitts from Ottawa.

      Even though our system is being stressed by internal and external forces, it is still better than most and can be revived to its former standards but it must be done by us, Joe and Jane Everybody, not crooked politicians. These meetings are vital. When we stand up together and act, we can show the politicians who is boss.

      I can tell you that MOST doctors and nurses, lab and Xray techs and all levels of staff do their best with what they have and are caring people but you can’t do something with nothing and they are stymied at every turn. Bean counters call patients “clients”. I hate that nomenclature. It implies a product. People are NOT products.

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