Gatineau's health provider plans to shut down two of three day hospitals for seniors as part of $20 million in cuts over the next two years — a decision that has seniors in Aylmer concerned about the loss of English services.
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Aylmer resident Lucette Santerre is leading a movement to convince the health provider to change the plan before a final decision is made in the fall.
"It's not healthy at all. There's a contradiction between health and system," she said. "We intend to continue battling and there will probably be some demonstrations that we will be able to take part later in the fall when people are back in town. And then there's also the petitions and I'm continuing every day to write emails."
Santerre is concerned wait lists will get even longer, and that a centralization of services in a sprawling city will limit access for seniors with limited mobility.
"You know, you can spread the butter for one toast on five toasts if you need to, but then that's just thinner butter," she said.
Concerns English services will be lost
The Centre de santé et des services sociaux de Gatineau (CSSSG) said at the end of July that the centralization of senior health services comes as a result of a reduction in provincial funding.
It has not announced which of the three day hospitals it plans to keep open, but the leaders of some Gatineau seniors groups believe the one in Hull, in the geographic centre of the city, will remain open.
The day hospital in Aylmer currently offers bilingual services. Reina Bastien, the leader of a seniors social group in Aylmer called Corporation de l'âge d'or d'Aylmer, is concerned that English speakers won't be offered the same health care services in their own language in Hull.
"I think that the English people need to have the same thing as the French," Bastien said.