Dalton McGuinty's Liberal health care monopolists, under George Smitherman, decided to close two hospital emergency rooms in Niagara, which forced ambulances to travel further with patients. McGuinty's Liberals said this was supposed to save money - now we see that the cost of closing the ER's resulted in increased ambulance costs, to the tune of 3.13 million dollars per year, as outlined in the following story, "ER closures push up budget for ambulances" (Niagara This Week, May 6, 2010):
"Niagara property taxpayers will be on the hook for about $2.4 million in 2010 and about $1.55 million each year after that, to pay for beefed up ambulance services in the wake of emergency room closures in the region’s south end.
Niagara Emergency Medical Services officials on Tuesday told regional politicians — whose government cost shares in the ambulance service with the province — that the equivalent of two and a half extra ambulances and 20 extra paramedics will be needed on an ongoing basis.
That’s because many patients who used to be taken to the now-closed emergency departments at the Port Colborne hospital and Douglas Memorial hospital in Fort Erie now have to be transported longer distances to other Niagara Health System (NHS) hospitals in cities such as Niagara Falls and Welland.
Last year, the NHS replaced those emergency departments with urgent care centres as part of its controversial hospital improvement plan.
Although the ambulance service and the NHS have an agreement in which less serious patients can be taken to those urgent care centres by ambulance, Kevin Smith, associate director of the ambulance service, said “very narrow” criteria in terms of the types of cases allowed at those scaled back departments means the vast majority of patients have to be transported to hospitals in other cities.
For instance, 528 patients were taken by ambulance between October of 2008 and March 2009 to Douglas Memorial’s emergency department before it was closed, said Smith. In the same period a year later, a mere 35 patients were taken to the urgent care centre.
Likewise, the number of patients transported to the Port Colborne hospital dropped from 363 to just six in the same time period, said Smith.
The total cost of the enhanced ambulance service because of the closures is $3.13 million per year.
While the province is expected to pay half the cost of that starting in 2011, of $1.13 million in additional provincial funding for the ambulance service this year only $694,352 is earmarked as part of the $3.13 million.
That means the Region will have to pay about $2.4 million extra this year.
Regional staff said Tuesday they hoped to find about $900,000 of that in budgetary surpluses.
St. Catharines Coun. Judy Casselman said the Region has no choice but to increase its ambulance funding, so adequate response times to patient emergencies in south Niagara are maintained. She said the cost to property taxpayers is in essence downloading from the province, since the emergency room closures were approved by the provincial Local Health Integration Network that the NHS answers to.
“We’re doing everything we can as a council” to keep response times acceptable, she said. “We have to come up with the funds to protect our citizens.”
Notice in the above report that reporter Paul Forsyth carefully avoided any reference to the Liberal government, or to the role which the Liberal-created LHIN played in this farce. Notice there is NO MENTION of the role which the Liberal government played in this. Notice there is NO MENTION of local Liberal MPP's Kim Craitor or Jim Bradley!
It's as if the comedic duo of Jimmy n' Kimmy HAD NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH ANY OF THIS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Why bother involving the Liberals in any of this anyway, right, if we don't have to... cuz' ya know ultimately that Harris is to blame!!!
Does anyone recall Dalton McGuinty's Liberals having told us that their LHIN-instigated Kitts-itization of the NHS would result in a downloading of additional ambulance expenses onto Niagara Region?
Did George Smitherman, that incompetent, sneaky clown of a former health minister (now running to be Toronto's mayor - retch) tell us that new hidden expenses/tax increases will be downloaded as a result of his Liberal government's closure of two Niagara emergency wards?
How about Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor - what did Kimmy have to say? Or Good Ole Jim Bradley - did Bradley say anything about his Grit's backdoor entry into our pockets for a hidden money grab? After all, this was simply all just another cute little ahem omission / misunderstanding... right? So what if McGuinty's Lying Liberals didn't tell us that their health care cuts would result in local tax increases? That's not lying - is it?! (nudge nudge wink wink)
Why isn't McGuinty's, Bradley's and Craitor's Liberal government paying for the entire cost of their cost-cutting decision, from their own bankrupt provincial budget?!
And where was the part in Forsyth's story assuring readers that "Niagara This Week contacted the offices of Craitor and Bradley; but received no reply"?
Did anyone ask?!
Did the Niagara This Week reporter even bother to ask the local Liberal politicians for their comment? Is their response - or convenient lack of response - not relevant to the story?! [cuz' ya know, if this had happened under Harris - Forsyth would have been sent with a sleeping bag and coffee thermos to park himself in front of the local Conservative MPP's house to get a gotcha response.]
So, let's not ask Jimmy or Kimmy too many questions, shall we - can't make them look bad, can we?