WINDSOR, ON, April 16, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ - If a new mega-hospital is built on the un-serviced greenfield land well outside the city centre now being proposed, Windsor will have the most distant hospital of any Canadian city, warns a community coalition calling for new public and more transparent consultations into the controversial project.
The mega-hospital plan presented to the public replaces two acute care hospitals in Windsor's established neighbourhoods with one new facility beyond the airport and one urgent care centre in the downtown that will close its doors to the public at 9 p.m. every night.
With return cab fares exceeding $70 from the west end, home to many of the city's lowest income residents, many in the community believe the proposed hospital location increases barriers to health care access for a range of essential health care services and "disadvantages thousands of residents, especially those who are more economically vulnerable and don't drive, at a time when our population is aging.
"Our grassroots citizen advocacy group is saying this is not a done deal and we are calling on the provincial government to re-think this plan," says Philippa von Ziegenweidt with Citizens for an Accountable Mega-Hospital Planning Process (CAMPP), one of five groups in a newly formed community coalition with a commitment to public health care delivery.
The coalition organizations agree that city's ageing hospitals are in poor shape and overcrowded. Together they are sponsoring a public forum on Tuesday (April 17) at 7 p.m. at the University of Windsor, School of Social Work (167 Ferry St.), which they see as a first step to a more responsible and representative plan for health care in Windsor.
"Hospitals in Windsor do need to be fixed and be renewed. But this proposed privately owned, enormously expensive mega-hospital, so far removed from the downtown that abandons the vulnerable inner-city population, is planning gone horribly wrong. These decisions are far too important to be made by the tiny elite that runs the Windsor hospital," says Michael Hurley president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE (OCHU).
With a provincial election less than two-months away, Natalie Mehra executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition is urging residents to raise the very serious issues of overcrowding, long-waits and underfunding of the Windsor hospitals. She believes this is the public's best opportunity to win firm commitments to fix the crisis and to change the plan to close virtually all public hospital services in the city and move them out past the airport.
"Otherwise," Mehra says "the costs involved are enormous and the impact on access to care for city residents -- the elderly in particular -- will be dramatic. There is a real chance here to save services in the city and to improve access to vital hospital care. If regular people raise their voices on this now, together we can make an enormous difference in thousands of peoples' lives."
SOURCE Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
For further information: Philippa von Ziegenweidt, CAMPP, 519-974 2789 / 226-406-4650; Natalie Mehra, Ontario Health Coalition, 416-230-6402; Michael Hurley, President, OCHU, 416-884-0770; Email: [email protected]