Press conference: Small, rural & local hospitals’ services under grave threat of permanent closures, Ford government doing “substantially nothing”

CHESLEY, Ontario, Sept. 14, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- “Emergency departments are repeatedly closing down, birthing closed, critical care gravely understaffed, and yet the Ford government is doing substantially nothing,” warned Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition. The Coalition, which has worked for decades to save and improve local health care services, is releasing a new report tomorrow listing critical local hospital service closures. Representatives from towns across the province will join a press conference to describe what is happening in their communities and demand action to save their services.

What: A press conference featuring local representatives who are working to try to save their local hospitals’ services across Ontario in the face of unprecedented closures of emergency departments, maternity and birthing, and other critical services.

When: Friday, September 15

Speakers on the 11 a.m. Zoom press conference:

  • Natalie Mehra, executive director, Ontario Health Coalition
  • Brenda Scott, Chair, Chesley Hospital Community Support and Grey Bruce Health Coalition
  • Sue Hotte, Chair, Niagara Health Coalition
  • Kim English, R.N., B.Sc. N, M.N., resident of Campbellford, professor of nursing and member of the Northumberland Health Coalition
  • Karel Jennings, resident of St. Marys (near Stratford)
  • Others will be available on the line for comment from small, rural and local communities across Ontario

At the same time as the closures of local public hospital services have become frighteningly more common and are now at risk of becoming permanent, the Ford government has shunted hundreds of millions of public dollars to privatizing core public hospital services, and privatizing nurses and health professionals. “They are cannibalizing our public hospitals’ services and staff to privatize our public hospitals. There is no other way to describe it,” warns Ms. Mehra in the coalition’s report to be released tomorrow.

The Coalition is planning a major protest against the closures and privatization of Ontario’s hospitals on opening day of the Ontario Legislature, Monday, September 25 at noon at Queen’s Park outside the Main Legislative Assembly.

For more information: Natalie Mehra, executive director, 416-230-6402 (cell), Brenda Scott 519-375-5812.