It comes as no surprise that politicians have little or no clue what the average Northern family experiences to receive proper medical care for their love ones. Over the past week we have two different politicians from two different political parties stating all we need to do is pump more money into one or two hospitals to solve all the woes of the Northern patient and their families. Wouldn’t it be great if this were only true, unfortunately this is not the case.
Northern Ontario, although beautiful, has its perils with her under maintained highways, lack of public transportation and non-existent rest areas that make any visit to a doctor’s office a bit of an adventure; especially for those who live an hour or more from the closest city.
France Gelinas, the NDP MPP for the Nickel Belt riding, wants to see monies that will help families get to medical appointments by way of an increase in the Northern Ontario Travel Grant, now go to new medical equipment and keep sleep clinics open. Unfortunately, Ms. Gelinas must realize that most Northerners have to travel to one of the big Northern cities to receive care, for example the citizens from Sault Ste. Marie has to travel 3 or 4 hours to Sudbury to receive cancer treatment and the residents from Kenora quite often have to travel to Manitoba to receive their specialized care.
In addition to this, the CBC report stated that 2/3 of travel grants are paid to Northerners seeking services in Northern Ontario. What France Gelinas, fails to see is the increase in the travel grant is actually going to help the people with the most severe medical conditions like cancer, organ transplant and people with disabilities.
Our Media Manager, Myles Clayton states that when his son first came down with a rare form of cancer he would have to drive 7 hours down to Sick Kids after work, catch two or three hours of sleep at the hotel, then spend the 8 or 9 hours at the hospital and drive home the same night. “This was because I couldn’t afford to catch a hotel for a second night because the travel grants only covered one night. I survived on coffee and pure adrenaline, some days I wonder how we made it.”
The Question the Northern Ontario Party has for France Gelinas, when did your party start promoting a conservative ideology. Talking about a Conservative Ideology, Troy Crowder now wants to build a Children’s hospital in Sudbury if the conservatives got elected. Although this may appear on the surface as a clever idea for the children of Northern Ontario, it’s not a feasible solution. If you would ask any parent if they would like to receive healthcare for their children in Northern Ontario rather than Toronto, we would all say yes. Unfortunately, Sudbury and Thunder Bay could not attract either the world class specialists that Sick Kids or CHEO can, nor could we attract the number of specialists that would be required to treat the different needs our children face. All Mr. Crowder’s plan would do is divert funding from Sick Kids or CHEO to create an inferior service for our Northern Children. For the most part, Northern children are treated in Northern hospitals when ever its possible, many children in the North Eastern Ontario go to Health Sciences North to receive chemo, blood transfusion and rehabilitation services and go to Sick Kids only for a follow up with their Oncologists.
Trevor Holliday states the Northern Ontario Party is not going to play on the heart strings of families who have sick children, we are going to come up with real solutions that will benefit everyone. The Northern Ontario Party will advocate for more Specialists clinics in the North. We would suggest that Sick Kids send a diverse team of children specialists to Health Sciences North and Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre once a month to meet with their patients in the North, this would help to cut down travel for Northern Ontario families.
The Northern Ontario Party would also demand a creation of a Northern Ontario house that would allow Northern families to have free accommodations while in receiving treatments at children hospitals. We would do away with the requirement of having your local doctors signing travel grants, as this practise serves little purpose when doctor already has to fill out a referral for you to see a specialist.
Finally ,we would advocate for use of the current technology available to help doctors to do patient intakes , consultations and patient follow ups through online resources.
Trevor Holliday states the One thing the NOP will not do is to buy votes by playing on sympathies of the Northern voters by using sick children as pawns. The NOP is dedicated to coming up with real solutions that make sense to help all Northerners.