I was recently made aware of claims made by the Ontario Health Coalition that the Bowmanville and Port Perry Hospitals are slated to lose services and may even close entirely if the integration is to go through. Needless to say I was caught off guard. Since I took office, I have been working closely with Lakeridge Health administration and staff, as well as countless other stakeholders, in order to continually improve health services in Durham.
Durham is one of the fastest growing areas in Ontario, and the government has made unprecedented investment, ranging from the extension of GO Train services to Courtice and Bowmanville, to the $12.8 billion refurbishment of Darlington Nuclear. We are in need of further investment and expansion at the Bowmanville site, something that I have always been clear on and that Minister Hoskins has been supportive of.
I felt that the only way to properly dispel these unfounded claims, made by the Ontario Health Coalition, was to publicly ask the Minister of Health about them. Please find the Hansard transcript below as well as a video clip.
MPP Anderson: Thank you, Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.
Minister, in my great riding of Durham, we have seen unprecedented investment from our government from the 407 east expansion to GO Train to Courtice and Bowmanville and most recently $12.8 billion for the refurbishment of Darlington. The growth has been tremendous, with more new families moving in every day. It is very exciting time to serve as MPP for Durham.
As you recall, we have spoken on many occasions about moving forward with expanding the Bowmanville Hospital, one of my top priorities. We have worked closely with Lakeridge Health administration, the foundation board, local businesses, as well as countless constituents and stakeholders to further this project. I am very proud of how far we have come and I thank you and your staff for their support along the way.
Now in spite of all [th]is hard work, Is [he]saying Ajax Lakeridge Health integration will lead to reduction of health services in both Bowmanville and Port Perry hospitals.
Min. Hoskins: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank member from Durham.
He has been an absolute champion for the Bowmanville Hospital. We've had meetings, Mr. Speaker. We've had discussions, Mr. Speaker. But this gives me the opportunity to set the record straight. Let meet be clear. The Bowmanville Hospital is not closing, and they will not experience any reduction in services or cuts. There are no plans whatsoever to change the programs or the services, certainly not to close the hospital. In fact, Mr. Speaker, I’ve received a new proposal for an emergency department at the Bowmanville Hospital, and I look forward to continuing consultations with Bowmanville and Lakeridge on the future possibilities for the E.R.
In contrast to what the Ontario Health Coalition is saying, the proposed integration of the Scarborough hospital, Valley health system and Lakeridge will, in fact, improve and expand services across Scarborough and Durham, Mr. Speaker.
MPP Anderson: Thank you, Minister. That's great news. I am glad that we are able to assure residents that the quality of their health care in Durham will improve, following the integration. There has been too much misinformation. Would you be able to provide some insight to my residents as to how the decision for hospital integration was made?
Min. Hoskins: Thank you again to the member of Durham for that question. Mr. Speaker, these decisions of course were not made lightly. They followed a long consultation process. There's a panel that was struck that provided recommendations to us earlier this year. The Scarborough west Durham panel. The advice was also provided by the central east local health integration network, and it's the resulting work -- and I want to commend and congratulate the two hospitals -- well, the many hospital boards and leadership over the past few months, in involving their communities to prepare for this next step. Over the next several months, the boards, hospital staff and physicians will continue to work collaboratively, to develop the hospital structures required again to improve the delivery and quality of health services to both the Scarborough, and the Durham communities, Mr. Speaker.
In response to this press release, The Standard felt it was important to get further clarification on how the merger of Rouge Valley and Lakeridge Health will affect all of us here in Port Perry and our great Hospital. For more details on this concern turn to page 9 in this week’s Seniors feature to read Tom McHugh, Executive Vice President and Interim Chief Transformation Officer’s responses to questions posed by The Standard’s Dan Cearns.