May 16, 2018 11:31 pm

Kingston and the Islands MPP candidates discuss state of Ontario’s health-care system

MPP candidates discuss Ontario's health-care system

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The state of Ontario’s health-care system was the focus of a panel discussion in Kingston on Tuesday night at an event held by Health City Ontario.

The group focuses on bringing together health-care officials, politicians and citizens to improve the system so it can better serve the public.

The five MPP hopefuls for Kingston and the Islands gathered on the same stage to field several questions ranging from hospital wait times to long-term care.

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Here are what the candidates were focusing on going into the session:

“People are concerned about long extended wait times, they’re concerned about whether or not members of their family will have access to long-term health care when they need it,” says PC candidate Gary Bennett.

NDP candidate Ian Arthur says, “Mental health and addictions is a huge issue facing Ontario — we would like to launch a ministry of mental health and addictions to start dealing with those issues.”

The trillium party’s Andre Imbeault says: “Every Ontarian having access to a family doctor, every Ontarian having access to affordable prescription drugs, and we have a comprehensive plan to do that.”

Incumbent Sophie Kiwala of the Liberal Party added, “I think it’s important to make sure that we look at it in a holistic way and not simply make it a little bit of a bumper sticker notion.”

Green Party candidate Robert Kiley states, “The Green Party thinks about health care holistically, so dental health, mental health, physical health, and we’re the only party who addresses that on the life cycle so through all aspects and all stages of a person’s life.”

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Dr. Joy Hataley is the president of Health City Ontario and added that there are many different reasons for long wait times.

“Our elderly who are sick and frail often have nowhere to go that’s a safe place for them. By default, they end up in hospital and by no fault of their own, they block acute-care beds.”

The new head of the Ontario Medical Association, Dr. Nadia Alam, says a provincial election is a great time to talk about ways to improve health care.

“We want to get the government talking about health care in a sensible way, not just Band-Aid solutions but an actual ‘We’re going to fix this long-term solution.’ There’s a direct correlation between the decisions the government makes and the way the health-care system works.”

Alam adds that giving the public a chance to speak directly with politicians is imperative to the process.

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