Provincial candidates for the Kenora Rainy-River riding are all hoping to address the local health-care crisis, if they get voted in on Thursday.

The region has long-seen issues surrounding a lack of access to front-line health-care in remote, isolated communities, a lower life expectancy, a lack of long-term care beds, hospital overcrowding and long wait times, among others. Each candidate says that they will take steps to improve local health-care, and detailed their plans for the region.

“People are being forced out of their communities to get the care they need. Hospitals are overcrowded. We have a hallway medicine crisis, but it doesn’t have to be this way,” said NDP candidate Glen Archer.

“Andrea Horwath and the NDP will end hallway medicine. We’re going to lower wait times. We will introduce universal pharmacare. We’re going to place a moratorium for any further layoffs to nurses, doctors and health-care workers. We’re going to fund 2,000 new hospital beds. We will invest $19 billion over the next 10 years into hospital-capital expansions and new hospitals that everyone in the province needs. We will address the health-care crisis.”

Archer added that Doug Ford and the PC’s want to cut $6 billion in services, which could mean a loss of 20,000 nurses and the closure of 36 hospitals across the province. Locally, Archer says that these cuts would cost the Lake of the Woods District Hospital 20 staff and 3 beds.

“Across this country, but particularly in this region, we need to put a stop to hallway health-care,” said Progressive Conservative candidate Greg Rickford.

“It’s unreasonable that young doctors are shutting down their practices. We’re going to take important steps. We’re going to protect front-line health-care workers. We want to make a significant investment into mental health. We want to expand long-term care beds with an additional 15,000 beds. Better quality of care and more appropriate facilities is a priority. We should not have to travel for basic health-care.”

Rickford noted that his experience as a nurse and a lawyer who specialized in accessing health services and programs, will help improve health-care in the region, if he’s elected.

“There was a comparison about the lower-life expectancy here in the north, compared to southern Ontario. The health outcomes here have to be better,” said Liberal candidate Karen Kejick. “We have to be better. We need help. We need investments. It’s totally unfair.” 

Kejick noted she met with hospital boards in Kenora and Dryden about cancer care, dialysis units and hip and knee replacements for seniors.

“People who have chronic illness that do not need to be treated in a hospital, want to stay home. So lets ensure that we provide for better home-care,” said Dryden resident and Green Party of Ontario representative, Ember McKillop.

“Better residential home services for people with disabilities. Lets invest more in prevention, pharmacare, universal dental care. We can improve overall health, and reduce health-care costs. We will expand health-care in Indigenous communities. We will also look at using a more holistic model that looks at more factors, including mental health and develops care plans based on overall needs.”

Voters will cast their ballot on Thursday.

For more information:
Fighting to represent us
Cuts will impact hospitals, Archer

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