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Pettapiece questions health minister on Hillside beds: “Will this government listen?”

May 31, 2017

(Queen’s Park) – Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece took another step today to push the government to keep long-term care beds in the community. The province is now considering a proposal to move as many as 50 long-term care beds from Hillside Manor, near Sebringville, to London.

In a question today to Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Pettapiece said:

“At my constituency office, the phones are ringing. Emails are pouring in. Municipalities are writing letters and passing resolutions. They are totally opposed to this bed transfer, and they want to be heard.

“Will this government listen?”

In response, Hoskins appeared to imply that Pettapiece, and other area municipal leaders, were consulted about the bed transfer: “I explicitly asked…that the long-term care operator specifically consult with the local members of provincial parliament as well as other local leaders.”

That is not the case, Pettapiece said after his question.

“Obviously, nobody asked me, as a member of the opposition, if I thought it was a good idea to take beds away from the people I represent,” Pettapiece said. “The minister seems to want to pass the buck to Revera, Hillside’s private operator. That’s unfortunate.”

Pettapiece added: “Consulting the community—and making sure we in rural Ontario have proper access to the beds we need—is the government’s responsibility. The health minister should know that.”

In his response, Hoskins also gave assurances that “appropriate community consultation” has been undertaken.

But Hoskins’ government has recently taken heat for its consultation process.

The government planned a one-hour public meeting for June 20 in Mitchell, from 12:30 to 1:30, in the middle of a workday, in a small room designed to hold about 30 people. To publicize the meeting, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care placed a small advertisement in one area newspaper.

Last week, Pettapiece spoke with officials in the minister’s office to raise these concerns and urge them to do better. The minister’s office promised to explore the possibility of additional consultation and extending the deadline for written submissions.

“Their process is flawed,” Pettapiece said. “Based on my conversations with ministry staff, I’m hopeful they will do more.”

On May 16, the MPP launched a petition calling on the provincial government to reject any proposal to eliminate beds in Perth-Wellington. It also calls for increased investment in local long-term care facilities to accommodate our growing number of seniors and their needs.

Pettapiece’s petition is available on his website: www.pettapiece.ca/petitions. Constituents can also pick up copies at his office, or call 1-800-461-9701 to have a petition mailed to them.
Completed petitions can be returned in their original form to Pettapiece’s constituency office: 55 Lorne Avenue East, Unit 2, Stratford, Ontario, N5A 6S4.