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Toronto councillors, paramedics call on Ford government to reverse funding freeze for services

Toronto councillors, paramedics call on Ford government to reverse funding freeze for services

WATCH ABOVE: Three Toronto city councilors are appealing to the Ford government’s plans to reduce funding to paramedic services. They say Toronto is already 300 members short. Jamie Mauracher has more at City Hall.

 

Toronto councillors and the union representing Toronto paramedics condemned the Ford government‘s move to freeze funding for emergency services, saying the city is already facing a shortfall.

In a press conference on Friday morning, Mike Merriman, Toronto Paramedic Services unit chair for CUPE Local 416, said the funding freeze by the provincial government, which accounts to $3.8 million for services, is equivalent to around 60 fewer paramedics in the city.

“They (paramedics) cannot keep up with the ever-increasing call volume and the lack of staffing. We’re approximately 300 paramedics short as of today and we needed a mass infusion of paramedics yesterday,” Merriman said.

“Things are that bad. It’s taking us a lot longer to get to calls, and I truly believe public safety is at risk. People’s lives hang in the balance.”

WATCH: Toronto paramedics, councillors slam cuts by Ford government, call for reverse course


Last month, the province notified the City of Toronto that this year’s land ambulance grant funding would remain unchanged from 2018. Toronto Paramedic Services said the funding freeze would result in a $3.8 million shortfall or cut.

Jim Karygiannis, councillor for Ward 22, Scarborough-Agincourt, said he’s calling on Premier Doug Ford and his cabinet to rescind the move as it greatly affects response times for paramedics.

“If there’s a crisis in North Etobicoke and we need to get somebody to respond there, it will take an extra 15 per cent longer. That’s totally unacceptable,” Karygiannis said.

He urged residents to pick up the phone and personally call the premier. Karygiannis gave the premier’s personal phone number at the press conference.

Joe Cressy, councillor for Ward 10, Spadina-Fort York, added that councillors are sounding the alarm because they know less funding will make things worse, if not dangerous.

“This province, not only are they cutting funding from public health and impacting our ability to keep people healthy, they’re now cutting funding of $3.8 million to paramedic services,” Cressy said. “So they’re not helping us prevent diseases in the first place, and if you get sick, they’re making it harder for us to respond to help people.”

Last month, Toronto Mayor John Tory announced that Toronto Public Health was advised that the province would be slashing approximately $1 billion in funding over the next 10 years.

 

North Scarborough launches ‘Save the Grace’ campaign on hospital cuts

Scarborough Health Network says emergency room will remain

Scarborough-Mirror February 27, 2019  Mike Adler 
Save The Grace

Emergency Department nurse Jennifer Lerma argues on Feb. 25 against closing the Scarborough Health Network’s Birchmount campus pediatric and obstetric wards, while being joined on the panel by Dr. Lisa Salamon (left) and Dr. Raymond Shu during a “Save The Grace” meeting at the L’Amoreaux Community Centre. – Mike Adler/Metroland

 

Many people supporting Scarborough’s Birchmount hospital campus — “the Grace,” to those who work there or live in Agincourt — don’t believe the Scarborough Health Network’s  (SHN) promises about the future.

Feb. 25 meeting at L’Amoreaux Community Recreation Centre at 7:30 p.m. to kick off a “Save the Grace” movement meeting called to oppose Scarborough hospital cuts

Event takes place Feb. 25 at L’Amoreaux Community Recreation Centre

Scarborough-Mirror February 9, 2019 Mike Adler 
Scar Health Network

Scar Health Network The Scarborough Health Network decided on Jan. 24, 2019 to close in-patient Women’s and Children’s services at its Birchmount campus in Agincourt. – Dan Pearce/Metroland

A community campaign is forming against closure of obstetrics and pediatrics wards at Scarborough Health Network’s Birchmount site, as Agincourt residents, doctors and other medical staff look to the province to intervene.

Scarborough health care divide deepens after Birchmount cuts approved

Scar Health Network

The Scarborough Health Network decided on Jan. 24, 2019 to close in-patient Women’s and Children’s services at its Birchmount campus in Agincourt. – Dan Pearce/Metroland

A long-standing divide over hospital care in Scarborough just got worse.

Scarborough Health Network board approves Birchmount campus cuts

Agincourt site to lose its Women’s and children’s services

Scarborough-Mirror Jnaury 28, 2019 News
Scarborough Health Network press

Scarborough-Agincourt Councillor Jim Karygiannis stands on Jan. 18 with doctors and nurses opposed program cuts at Scarborough Health Network’s Birchmount campus. – Metroland file photo

Women’s and children’s services at Scarborough Health Network’s Birchmount campus will close, the hospital’s board decided on Thursday, Jan. 24.