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  • Writer's pictureHannah Schmidt

ER closures across Ontario prompt public hearings on improving local hospitals

Public Hearings on Protecting and Improving Local Hospitals: Community members invited to give input

June 4, 2024

In response to over 1,200 closures of emergency departments and local hospital services last year, the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) is organizing public hearings across Ontario.

According to the OHC, these hearings aim to develop recommendations to protect and improve local hospitals, with a focus on small, rural, and northern community hospitals. Mid-size and larger hospitals at risk of closure will also be included.

“These hearings are a chance for people in rural and northern Ontario to share their experiences and to safeguard and improve our local hospitals, especially those at risk of closures,” said Brenda Scott, chair of the Coalition's small, rural and local hospital committee. “We want to hear what has been cut, what if anything has improved, and what is needed to improve equity, save our hospitals, and improve healthcare for rural Ontario.”

The hearings invite input from patients, community residents, service agencies, patient advocacy groups, municipal leaders, healthcare professionals, and concerned citizens. The OHC says the feedback collected will be compiled into a report with recommendations for safeguarding and enhancing local hospitals.

“Decisions about our local hospitals have been removed from the local communities that have funded and relied upon them for generations,” added Natalie Mehra, executive director of the OHC. “Residents in these areas deserve the opportunity to share their concerns and influence decisions that will impact them.”

All Ontario residents are welcome to participate, with both online and in-person options available.

The public hearings will make stops in St. Mary’s, Clinton, Seaforth, Stratford and region on June 8. They will also make stops in Walkerton, Durham and region, Mount Forest, Listowel and Wingham on June 18.

For a complete list of hearings and to register for a verbal presentation, visit here.


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