News Fedeli and Vanthof clash over long-term care beds and a restructured healthcare system SHARE ON: Rocco Frangione, staff Wednesday, Jan. 8th, 2020 Vanthof claims Tories not delivering on long-term care beds but Fedeli disagrees (Stock photo) There’ a big difference of opinion between Progressive Conservative Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli and New Democrat MPP John Vanthof of Timiskaming-Cochrane over long-term care beds. Vanthof says despite the Ford government announcing they will create thousands of long-term care beds, they have only delivered 22 beds since taking office. Vanthof says the former Liberal government also announced long-term beds before losing power and a year-and-half into their mandate, Vanthof says Premier Doug Ford has created less than two dozen beds. “So other than announce the change, I don’t know what else they accomplished,” Vanthof said. However, Fedeli says seeing the actual beds takes time from the moment they are announced. Fedeli says when he was Mayor of North Bay it took 10 years from the time more beds were announced for Cassellholme and when they finally opened. Fedeli says long-term care beds have to go through a design stage before there’s an announcement on funding and finally getting shovels in the ground. “The NDP would be looking to score a one-day hit by thinking a negative comment is going to play out in the long-term,” Fedeli said. Fedeli said the Tories have announced the creation of 15,000 beds for the province. He says 8,000 have been awarded and adds watch for January 17th when the next round of intakes for more application ends and the government will announce thousands of more beds. Fedeli also reaffirmed his commitment to see long-term care beds return to Trout Creek. The community lost its 66 beds when the Lady Isabelle nursing home closed. Fedeli says it remains his goal to at some point announce a 96-bed facility for Trout Creek that will employ more than 80 people. Eighty was the number of people who lost their jobs when the Trout Creek facility closed. Meanwhile, Fedeli and Vanthof are also on opposite sides when it comes to restructuring the healthcare system. Vanthof claims a super-sized health agency will mean fewer services for northerners. But he points out all the Ford government has done so far is to announce it’s going to change health but that’s it. “They’ve rearranged the deck chairs but haven’t said how that’s going to benefit people in Northern Ontario or across the province,” he said. “They’re just reassigning who’s running the show and I’m not sure that’s actually going to help anyone.” But Fedeli dismisses the criticism. He says as an example, every single health organization in Nipissing got together to form and create the Ontario health team as part of a restructured health care system. “It’s historic,” he said. “It involved every single group from paramedics to doctors and mental health. They spent 4,000 hours without any politicians putting together the Ontario health team plan.” Fedeli says this means it’s the people in charge, the professionals as he put it, who helped design the system. “I’m very proud of the work they did and John Vanthof is completely wrong in fear-mongering about the healthcare system in Ontario,” Fedeli said.