Horwath Calls London “Ground Zero” for Health Care Mess

When speaking about health care across Ontario, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says she uses London as an example of how the system is failing patients.

Horwath stopped in London on Tuesday night to hold a townhall meeting on health care at Goodwill Industries, where nearly 70 people packed a third-floor conference room.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve said that London is like the ground zero for problems in our health care system, with the cutbacks that people are having to face (from) the Liberal and Conservative cuts over the years,” Horwath told the crowd.

London Health Sciences Centre has been forced to slash $141 million and 488 full-time jobs under Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynn, resulting in overcrowding that’s led to hospital staff routinely treating patients in hallways, Horwath said.

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” she said to cheers.

The NDP Leader touted her party’s health care platform, pledging to invest $1.2 billion in Ontario’s hospitals to make sure spending keeps pace with inflation and the growing needs of an aging population. She also promised funding for 15,000 long-term care beds over the next five years, with that number growing to 40,000 within a decade.

Horwath launched an attack on Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford’s approach to health care.

“Doug Ford will cut and privatize our health care system if we give him the chance,” she said. “That is not change for the better.”

NDP MPPs Teresa Armstrong and Peggy Sattler, both of whom are running for re-election in June, attended Tuesday’s event, hosted by Terence Kernaghan, the party’s candidate for London North Centre.

Horwath also renewed her pledge to expand the scope of an inquiry into serial killer nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer, who was sentenced to life in prison last year for killing eight seniors at three nursing homes and a private home, to look at the entire long-term care system.