QUEENS PARK- NDP MPP Lise Vaugeois (Thunder Bay—Superior North) raised concerns yesterday in Question Period about the hurdles that residents of Northwestern Ontario face just to receive life-saving dialysis treatment.
Across all of Northwestern Ontario, only four hospitals have dialysis care. Of those, three are currently at capacity and have no space available for new patients. The only place to receive treatment is in the Thunder Bay region.
“It is expensive and cruel to require that people who are sick move away from their support system indefinitely just so they can access care,” said Vaugeois. “People need strong networks of support when undergoing treatment—not isolation.”
Recent CBC reporting revealed that dialysis patients across Northwest Ontario are being forced to travel hundreds of kilometers to Thunder Bay just to receive treatment, racking up huge bills in expenses to cover the move.
“Ford needs to urgently add capacity to the hospitals with existing dialysis units and take immediate steps to open more units across the region,” said Vaugeois. “The Northern Health Travel Grant doesn’t come close to covering the costs of patients forced to move to Thunder Bay for dialysis treatment.”
During Question Period, Vaugeois advocated for Carol Davis, a constituent who spent nine months living in Thunder Bay to receive treatment and had to spend $17,000 in expenses.
“This government needs to make kidney dialysis accessible, timely, and affordable for patients and their families in Northwestern Ontario," said Vaugeois. "The Ontario NDP will continue to advocate for publicly available health care across the province.”