June 1, 2022 12:46pm
The Liberal candidate in Windsor West is calling for another hospital in the city.
With more than 120,000 people living on the west side, Linda McCurdy believes the area needs an urgent care centre, a place to go for injuries that are not life-threatening but require attention immediately.
She says she’s not opposed to the new hospital on County Road 42 but believes there should be a facility to treat sprains, burns, and other injuries that can’t wait for an appointment.
McCurdy points out the Muskoka Region has half the population of West Windsor and has a commitment to build two new hospitals.
“Why could an area as small as Muskoka be recognized as needing two hospitals, yet a city the size of Windsor, with all the challenges in the core, is only expected to have one?” she asked.
Not all injuries that require immediate attention warrant an ambulance, but one in ten west side residents rely on Windsor Transit to get around. Currently, it does not offer service to County Road 42 and doesn’t operate around the clock.
The cost of a taxi ride is at least $30. The drive is at least 30 minutes, and if you do call an ambulance, you could be charged $45. McCurdy argues the cost puts it out of reach of many living in West Windsor, where a third of children live below the poverty line.
McCurdy’s comments, however, have resulted in criticism from those backing the acute-care hospital project. In a rare election cycle response, Windsor Regional Hospital said the issue about urgent care and emergency facilities at the Ouellette campus has always been part of the plan.
“All of this was just re-affirmed at a recent Town Hall on Emergency Services that all of Windsor-Essex was invited to attend, hosted by a clinical physician and administrative leadership of WRH and Essex-Windsor EMS,” read a statement from the hospital.
WRH also added that as far as any candidate suggesting a re-think of the hospital location should they be elected, it’s a moot point because the site has been chosen and is not being moved.
“The process to procure and select a site for the new Windsor/Essex Acute Care Hospital is settled. The decision to proceed with the current plan was proposed in 2012 by a tri-partisan task force report after an exhaustive community engagement process,” read the statement.
Meanwhile, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens has accused political campaigns of trying to mislead voters on the hospital plan. He told WindsorNewsToday.ca there is no reason for it, and it will only backfire.
“It’s not accurate,” said Dilkens. “Attempting to scare voters about the plans for the acute care hospital is just wrong. It’s always been part of a plan to include an urgent care centre in the downtown core, and we are going to continue to fight for a full emergency room.”
McCurdy is running against Progressive Conservative candidate John Leontowicz, Jeremy Palko of the Ontario Party, the Green Party’s Krysta Glovasky, Joshua Griffin from the New Blue Party, and NDP incumbent Lisa Gretzky.
The Ontario Election is Thursday, June 2. Polls open at 9 a.m. and close at 9 p.m.
—with files from Maureen Revait and Mark Brown
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