Ontario can easily allow a pilot project to help ease London’s mental health crisis, MPP Peggy Sattler charged in the province’s legislature Thursday.
But Health Minister Eric Hoskins insisted it’s not as easy as the West London New Democrat says, setting up more delays and more study of a pilot project that could save $2.5 million a year in hospital costs.
For the third time in two weeks, Sattler questioned the Liberal government about the pilot project, which would let ambulances drop non-acute mental health patients at London’s crisis centre, not the overcrowded emergency department of the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).
“People in London cannot wait any longer — the mental health patients who are lined up in hallway stretchers need action from this Liberal government, not more excuses,” Sattler said.
“This project will not alone solve the crisis, but it will help.”
In previous exchanges, Hoskins has insisted Ontario’s Ambulance Act prohibits him from allowing the change, even for a pilot project.
Sattler again disagreed and suggested another method.
“The minister of health is using the Ambulance Act as an excuse for inaction when it actually has nothing to do with the proposed project,” she said.
Hoskins could use Regulation 552 of the Health Insurance Act to designate the crisis centre as a health facility able to accept ambulance patients, she said.
“Will he use his ministerial authority to immediately recognize London’s crisis centre as a designated health facility?” she asked.
Hoskins insisted the laws are clear.
“It’s not something I can sign off on a whim,” he said. “I’m not…
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