QUEEN’S PARK – Niagara NDP MPPs Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls), Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre), and Jennie Stevens (St. Catharines) called for urgent support to Niagara’s health care system, which has faced significant EMS delays across the region.
“Healthcare has fallen into crisis under this government’s watch and Niagara hasn’t been spared”, said Gates. “Local leaders from the Niagara region have joined us here today calling on Ford for sustainable, long-term solutions to EMS off-load delays. We’re working together for solutions – and I hope this government joins us”.
Offload delays keep ambulances parked in hospitals instead of being out on the road saving lives. They are incredibly dangerous for people waiting for help – and are also incredibly costly.
In 2022, Niagara EMS incurred 33,908 offload delay hours and experienced a 55% increase in delay times since 2021. In 2022, over $1.7 million of the Regional Levy was spent to address the record number of EMS calls.
“When our Niagara community can’t access local clinics or doctors, they’re more likely to need acute care,” said Burch. “Our partners at the municipal level are requesting support to address the underlying causes of these EMS delays – and I support their calls.”
One solution for EMS offloading delays is an increased effort to support and recruit family doctors to alleviate the strain on our hospitals.
“A senior in my community has reached out to over 50 clinics in search of a new physician – but with a shortage of over 100 doctors, she hasn’t had any luck,” said Stevens. “Ford needs to commit to increasing the support for physician recruitment immediately to provide ongoing care and prevent people from ending up in the emergency room.”
The Ontario NDP are calling on Ford to provide immediate support for Niagara region and reimburse the enormous EMS costs that the region has had to shoulder because of cuts to health care.