Mr. Todd Smith: Fall is in the air and because it is, that can only mean one thing: Another round of cuts and staff uncertainty at Quinte Healthcare hospitals. To make up for an $11.5-million funding shortfall created largely because Ontario’s Liberal government can’t manage money, jobs and services will be cut at hospitals in Picton, Belleville, Bancroft and Trenton. Money is being spent on debt that people in Prince Edward–Hastings want spent on the services they need in their hospitals.
This morning, we learned that in order to close the $11.5-million shortfall, QHC is proposing a reduction of nearly all surgery services at Trenton Memorial, $4.5 million in direct care cuts and changes that one QHC executive calls “very hard on our staff.”
During the years of this government, QHC has been the recipient of almost continual funding shortfalls from the ministry.
Speaker, if I could, I’d like to direct some comments directly to my constituency back at home: The deficit this government is running is costing you your health care services. QHC has had to come up $25 million in cuts over four years to make up for funding shortfalls because the Liberal government at Queen’s Park doesn’t have any money left. The government says money is going into better home care services but the Auditor General says services are being cut there too to pay for fat-cat salaries.
The third largest expense in the budget is how much we pay to service our debt and it’s also the fastest growing. That’s why cuts like this have gone from being rare to happening annually.