Local hospital, political leaders meet with Premier Doug Ford on Windsor health care

Local hospital, political leaders meet with Premier Doug Ford on Windsor health care

Essex mayor Sherry Bondy said a meeting between local political and health-care leaders and Premier Doug Ford Thursday on ambulance issues was a “good starting point,” while MPP Andrew Dowie said it was a chance to share what work is already underway.

“I think our concerns were heard. I think we had the right people at the table and we’re sharing information,” Bondy said. “I look forward to further collaborating to make sure that when people in Windsor-Essex County need those critical services such as EMS that EMS will be able to be there for them.”

A woman sits at a desk.
Essex Mayor Sherry Bondy said meetings with the province and local health-care officials are a good “starting point” for more action on health-care in Windsor and Essex County. (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC)

Ford and Sylvia Jones, deputy premier and minister of health, met with Essex-Windsor EMS Chief Bruce Krauter as well as Bondy, PC MPPs Andrew Dowie and Anthony Leardi, Essex Warden Hilda MacDonald and the CEOs of Windsor Regional Hospital and Erie Shores Healthcare.

The meeting comes after calls from Bondy and other local politicians for the province to address the number of ambulances code blacks — times when there are no ambulances available — and code reds, when there are two or fewer ambulances available.

Bondy said the province was able to share details about programs that are currently in the works or being implemented — such as incentivizing clinics to have after-hours availability and a dedicated nurse offload program.

“I think our concerns were heard. I think we had the right people at the table and we’re sharing information,” Bondy said. “I look forward to further collaborating to make sure that when people in Windsor-Essex County need those critical services such as EMS that EMS will be able to be there for them.”

While the EMS union was not present at the “short notice” meeting, Bondy noted Essex-Windsor EMS chief Bruce Krauter was there and said he had plans to follow-up with the union, which has been outspoken on the issue of code blacks in the region.

A man in a black shirt sits at a conference room table.
Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Andrew Dowie said a meeting on Thursday between local and provincial officials shed more light on what actions are being taken to improve health care in Windsor-Essex. (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC)

Dowie and Leardi, in a joint statement after the meeting, pointed to nearly $1 million spent on a dedicated nurse offload program and the expanded 911 “models of care” which allow paramedics to provide more treatment in the community.

Dowie added the nurse offload program now has seven people working under it, and it was expanded last year to also allow physician’s assistants, paramedics and respiratory therapists to assist with offload.

“It (was) a good opportunity to understand that from the perspective of those who operate the system, Dowie said.

Dowie said actions to correct the issues persisting in health care currently have been underway for “months” but are “all long-term actions that are addressing the root causes of why these issues are persisting today.”

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