Minister of Health Moves LTC beds from Oxford

More evidence that the McGuinty government has given up on rural Ontario

QUEEN’S PARK – Ernie Hardeman, Oxford MPP, said he was extremely disappointed by the Minister of Health’s decision to allow the transfer of 80 long-term care beds out of Oxford County.

“Oxford already has less beds per capita than London and yet the Minister of Health has approved this transfer that would take 80 more beds out of our community,” said Hardeman. “I find it extremely disappointing that she ignored advice from our three hospitals and the many people who came forward to express their concerns.”

The Minister of Health, Deb Matthews, informed Hardeman of her decision in a letter received yesterday. She acknowledged the concerns that he had raised but still chose to approve the transfer.

“I agree with the need to upgrade Bonnie Brae but there are a number of solutions that would have kept the long-term care beds here in Oxford where we need them,” said Hardeman. “The Minister of Health took the easy solution of approving the transfer instead of working to find the right solution that would keep the beds where they are needed.”

While the Ministry still has to confirm the eligibility of the purchaser to operate the beds the Minister said that she expects final approval to follow shortly.

“This is more of the McGuinty government’s neglect of rural Ontario. They don’t understand our communities and the importance of looking at ways to keep these services where they are needed,” said Hardeman. “The McGuinty government didn’t even try to find a local solution they just accepted another big city proposal at the expense of rural Ontario.”

Information provided by the South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) shows that Oxford currently has 5 less long-term care beds per 1,000 seniors than London/Middlesex. After the transfer of the 80 long-term care beds to London that gap will increase to 16 beds more than Oxford.

“There are currently seniors in all three of our hospitals who are waiting for a long-term care bed and yet the Minister of Health has chosen to reduce the number of beds available,” said Hardeman. “How can she possibly believe that will lead to better health care?”

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For more information, contact:
Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford
(416) 325-1239