Patients, staff 'suffer': Rural Ottawa voters demand better health care

For Ottawa voters in the Glengarry–Prescott–Russell riding, improving hospital wait times and the quality of care in long-term care homes is a top election issue.

Shorter hospital wait times and improved care in long-term-care homes a key election issue

Emmanuelle Seguin Reid sits with two of her sons, three-year-old Samuel (right) and nine-month-old Benjamin (left). (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

With three young boys, Emmanuelle Seguin Reid says a trip to the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario is practically an inevitability — and one she dreads. 

"Sometimes when kids get hurt, you're like, 'Should we go to the hospital?'" Seguin Reid said from the porch of her Navan home, while her three-year-old son Samuel ran back and forth across her lawn. 

Reading Facebook posts from friends who've waited "hours and hours" for treatment has made her weary.

"If I knew the wait would be less long than usual, it would be my first place to go all the time and get the problem fixed right away," she said.

For Ottawa voters in the Glengarry–Prescott–Russell riding, improving health care is one of their most pressing concerns.

'Staff suffer'

In Cumberland and Navan, it's not hard to find someone with a personal connection to the issue. 

Standing in a busy park, Luiz Lubitz describes why improvements to health care, including hiring more doctors and nurses, is so important. 

"My husband, last year, he had heart surgery and his heart stopped two times," she said. Those who cared for him were kind, but she said the hospital system needs more people like them. 

"I think it's very important. It's very important to me and my family."

Luz Lubitz says she'd like to know how local candidates want to improve the health-care system. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

As a long-term-care nurse, Stephanie Rathwell knows the other side of the issue. 

"I believe that there should be more money put into health care for sure, because I know there's a lot of people waiting in emergency rooms, and [for] long times."

And government underfunding doesn't just affect patients, Rathwell said. 

"Staff suffer. I mean, staff are overworked. Residents aren't getting the proper care they need right away. There's a lot of burn-out rates for people in general."

Glengarry-Prescott-Russell voters want shorter wait times in hospitals and more support in long-term care homes 1:50

What's being promised

This isn't the only riding where Ontario's aging population has been a main topic of concern and it's not the first time the issue of long-term care beds has come up on the campaign trail.

Here's what the three main parties are promising: 

  • The PCs say they'll create 15,000 new long-term-care beds over the next five years and 30,000 over the next 10 years.
  • The NDP also want to add 15,000 beds in the next five years, but say they'll create 40,000 by 2028 and hold a public inquiry into the state of long-term care.
  • As with the other parties, the Liberals are pledging more beds: 30,000 over 10 years. They also say they'll spend $300 million over three years to hire a registered nurse in each facility.

Each of the parties is also taking aim at long hospital wait times.

Candidates from Glengarry–Prescott–Russell will be on CBC Radio's All In A Day Friday afternoon to talk about what they'll do to improve the health-care system.

CBC is coming to your riding

The Street Talk team is heading to every provincial riding in Ottawa to find out what issues matter most to the people who live there. 

From now until election day on June 7, reporters will go to Carleton, Glengarry–Prescott–Russell, Kanata–Carleton, Nepean, Orlé​ans, Ottawa Centre, Ottawa South, Ottawa West–Nepean and Ottawa–Vanier.

Then we'll take your questions to the people hoping to get your vote. 

Come back to our website each day to find out about another riding, and follow the discussion with the hashtag #CBCStreetTalk on social media. 

With files from Matthew Kupfer