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NDP pledge to cut ER wait times in half

By Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath announces she would make investments to cut hospital emergency room wait times in half Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (Antonella Artuso/Toronto Sun)

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath announces she would make investments to cut hospital emergency room wait times in half Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (Antonella Artuso/Toronto Sun)

TORONTO - 

New Democrats have a plan to cut hospital emergency room wait times in half, Leader Andrea Horwath says.

Patients with complex needs — often seniors with multiple chronic conditions — can spend more than 10 hours in ERs waiting for care, she said.

“That’s not acceptable here in Ontario,” Horwath said Tuesday.

The NDP are proposing to add 250 nurse practitioners to hospital ER wait rooms to assess and treat patients more quickly, add 1,400 long-term-care beds for seniors stuck in hospital, and create 50 24-hour family health clinics.

“That way people don’t end up in emerge when they don’t need to be there,” Horwath said.

The NDP estimate the initiatives would cost $205 million more in each of the first two years, and $215 million annually over the two years after that.

Horwath made her commitment shortly before hopping on her campaign bus en route to London, Ont., home of Liberal Health Minister Deb Matthews.

Horwath accused the Liberals of failing to bring down ER wait times significantly as promised.

“We’re heading to London, of course, because London is the home of the health minister that has not been able to achieve this basic fundamental need for Ontarians to get their emergency wards operating in a way that provides the kind of care they need in a timely fashion,” she said.


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