Local woman organizes protest in front of MPP’s office as healthcare system buckles
A local woman is fed up with the ongoing challenges in the provincial healthcare system, especially the lack of over-the-counter medications and timely access to seeing a doctor. Now, Meg Geraghty plans to make her voice heard by organizing a protest outside local MPP Laurie Scott’s office next Thursday Dec. 15 at Noon.
Last week her son was sick, and there was a two week wait to see their family doctor. Their virtual doctor had closed their services “effective December 1.” And in order to get an appointment at the CKL Walk-in Clinic, you “have to line up an hour before they even open or else you’re not really guaranteed to get in that day,” she said, and “if you had to go to the emergency room as a last resort, you’re waiting there, and I think the average times are between eight and 10 hours now.”
Geraghty says the reason for this long wait is doctors and nurses are leaving the profession because of abuse they have endured on the job from patients, and those remaining are incredibly short-staffed and work long shifts. “I can’t imagine the deterioration of their mental health. I know so many people who have been nurses for years who have decided to leave the job.”
She said she has faced instances where there weren’t antibiotics that were needed, or even Tylenol for pain medication.
“You have to end up going on Mom Facebook groups and saying, “Hey, does anybody have an extra dose that I can have for my children? We are bartering and begging strangers to be able to get relief for our children,” she told the Advocate. She is part of a private Facebook group called Sassy Strollers and said 30 different people on the page have similar concerns.
Geraghty told the Advocate she eventually got an email response from Scott. Scott’s office provided the Advocate with the email they sent Geraghty. You can read the entire email here.
Addressed by Scott’s constituency assistant, Monica Annand-McGee, the email gave statistics on how Ross Memorial Hospital’s annual funding has increased by nearly 25 per cent over the last few years, along with funding allowing for the construction of a new operating room, “positioning Ross Memorial Hospital to eliminate their surgical backlog within a year.”
Annand-McGee also addressed the Ontario government’s Pandemic and Emergency Preparedness Act called A Plan To Stay Open. You can read more about the plan here. Annand-McGee said a future phase of the plan will add up to 6,000 more health care workers to Ontario’s health workforce, will free up 2,500 hospital beds, and will expand models of care that provide care effective enough to avoid unnecessary visits to emergency departments.
The email additionally points to an expansion of medical school education in Ontario the government has announced, adding 160 undergraduate seats and 295 postgraduate positions over the next five years to the schools, increasing access to family and specialty physicians and other health care professionals across the province.
Regarding the over-the-counter medication concern, the email called it an issue under federal purview, and that the provincial minister of health, Sylvia Jones, has been in frequent contact with the federal minister urging attention to the matter.
Geraghty said this email felt like a “stock answer” which gave promises but did not give dates as to when those promises would be implemented, and felt it wasn’t an answer personalized to her concerns.
She said she’s organizing the protest because she feels Scott must listen to all the concerned residents to make sure she is fighting for readily available medications and healthcare workers.
“We just want her to provide answers on what’s going to happen. She is supposed to be our leader, we have elected her in charge.”
For more information on our current health crisis, read this article from February.