The current debate over the possible conversion of the Cornwall General Hospital site into a long- term care facility highlights the urgent need for more long- term care beds in Cornwall & SD&G to serve the needs of our seniors who make up 20% of the local population. At the present time, the wait time for a bed in a long-term care facility in our area is the highest in the province and double the provincial average. Indeed, 800 residents in our area of the province continue to wait for long-term care beds.
In Ontario, there are now more than 30,000 persons on long-term wait lists for nursing homes. The 2012 Ontario budget contained nothing new to alleviate these wait lists which Health Quality Ontario reports have tripled since 2005. And the population continues to age.
The 2013 Ontario budget should provide funds for more long- term care beds across the province and especially in areas such as Cornwall and SD&G with our long wait times. Before the Cornwall General Hospital site is sold, the Champlain LHIN and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term care should do a study on the possible conversion of the Cornwall General Hospital into a long-term care facility.
We certainly can afford to provide good long-term care for our parents and grandparents. We can do it with a fairer tax system in Ontario. The Ontario Government should stop the corporate tax giveaways that don’t create jobs and ensure that the large, profitable corporations and the wealthiest one per cent pay their fair share of taxes. If the corporate tax cuts were restored to the 2009 level, if the wealthiest individuals earning more than $250,000 a year paid a two per cent surtax, and if tax loopholes were closed, billions of dollars would be raised by the provincial government each year to pay for essential public services like long-term care for seniors.
By working together, we can address the need for long-term healthcare in our region and make our community a better and healthier place in which to live.
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