Chorus calling for Whitby hospital action gains MP’s voice

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Published March 27, 2024 at 8:02 pm

Whitby MP Ryan Turnbull

Whitby MP Ryan Turnbull has lent his voice to the growing chorus calling for the Ontario government to fund the town’s hospital.

Pickering-Uxbridge MPP and Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy announced the 2024 Ontario budget on March 26. While this budget included billions of spending for healthcare projects, it did not include the $3 million needed to prepare the Whitby hospital site.

Lakeridge Health selected Whitby to host its seventh hospital back in January 2022. When complete, it will be the only trauma centre between Toronto and Kingston. However, the project requires provincial funding to proceed.

A year after Lakeridge chose Whitby to host the new hospital, the funds had not arrived, prompting then-newly elected Mayor Elizabeth Roy to demand the Province “reaffirm” their support.

hey’ve had to wait yet another year, prompting Roy to lead a public advocacy charge to demand action on the hospital. “For two years, we have waited patiently,” she said, “That’s why I’m asking residents to speak out and join our advocacy efforts.”

She started an online letter-writing campaign to get Whitby resident’s demands for the hospital to the Premier’s desk. (Those who wish to take part can do so here.)

Following this campaign, Premier Doug Ford confirmed to CKDO Radio  host Terry Johnson “There’s going to be a Whitby hospital.”

However, he added the caveat that the province was not currently issuing planning grants. He did note that Whitby MPP and his Parliamentary Secretary Lorne Coe is “always on him” about the hospital.

Coe’s calls seem to fall on deaf ears. Despite the renewed calls from the town and the support of Oshawa MPP Jennifer French, the project received no funding in the 2024 budget. This has potentially scuttled the project for a third year.

Roy called the lack of funds for Whitby’s hospital “unacceptable” especially given Ford’s comments on CKDO.

“I remain hopeful that this funding will be announced promptly, and I will continue to advocate at every opportunity,” she continued, ” I share the deep frustration and disappointment of our residents, who are telling the Province loud and clear that we need a new hospital – and whose voices are being ignored.”

“Durham is one of the fastest-growing communities in Canada, with a health care system that is already stretched to the limit,” she said, “The Province has mandated that Whitby build 18,000 new homes by 2031, but isn’t investing in the necessary infrastructure to support this growth.” The Region is set to double in population to 1.5 million people by 2025.

The day after the Ontario budget presentation, Turnbull also voiced his disappointment. He said he was “deeply disappointed” in the “glaring omission” of Whitby from the budget.

“The province’s failure to allocate funding for this crucial project is nothing short of a betrayal and a disservice to our community’s health and well-being,” he wrote in a statement.

“Our loved ones deserve quality care that they can count on, that they don’t have to travel over an hour to receive, especially in the height of a traumatic healthcare incident where every second counts,” he continued.

He added, “I’ve experienced the same loss that many constituents have shared with me. If a hospital were closer to home, it might have changed the outcome for their loved ones…I’ve experienced the same loss that many constituents have shared with me. If a hospital were closer to home, it might have changed the outcome for their loved one.”

He also stressed the recent agreement between the Ontario and the Federal government for $3.7 billion more healthcare funding, which comes on top of the $77 billion federal health transfer.

“It is now imperative for the province to invest in the Whitby Hospital without further delay,” he wrote, “The people of Durham know healthcare delivery is a provincial responsibility, and our community is counting on Premier Ford to follow through on the personal commitment he made.”

 

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