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NDP vowing to fix shortage of healthcare workers in the north

The New Democrats are calling on the province to address healthcare-related job shortages in the north. 

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath was in our area on Sunday meeting with hospital and long-term care workers. 

“It’s really important to hear what folks are saying at the front-line because it’s those people that we want to make sure we keep on the job and recruit more people to join them,” she says. 

Horwath says she’s hearing that people recruited into nursing and Personal Support Worker positions don’t last. 

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“Their working conditions are really tough, all of the facilities are extremely understaffed and when you’re not getting a decent paycheque, decent working conditions and hours, you’re not going to stick around,” she says. 

Her opposition day motion looks to the government to immediately fund and implement a plan to attract, train and retain nurses, physicians, and specialists in Northern Ontario. 

“We know that in the North Bay region there are 22 physician shortages at the Regional Health Centre,” she says.  “We need seven family doctors, there are 19 specialist vacancies, we also know that we need better long-term care and home care to keep people out of hospital.” 

Horwath says their plan also includes the expansion of training opportunities at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and fixes the northern healthcare travel grant. 

“The bottom line is that northerners have had unequal access to healthcare for a very long time and government after government has refused to fix the problem, so we’re making that commitment,” she says. 

The NDP is also calling for the repeal of Bill 124, which enables the government to manage public sector wages.  

The motion will be debated on March 23 at Queen’s Park. 

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