One day after holding a rally outside of their downtown offices, supporters of Hamilton Urban Core Community Health Centre have received the backing of NDP leader Andrea Horwath.
The Hamilton-Centre M-P-P took direct aim at Health Minister Deb Matthews during question period at Queen’s Park on Wednesday, calling on her to protect vital services that are offered by the organization to one of the city’s poorest neighbourhoods.
Hamilton Urban Core operates out of a rundown, former bus station on Rebecca Street.
The facility that provides health care services to about 7-thousand downtown residents needs about a million dollars in funding to maintain current program levels.
Those programs include mental health, oral and foot care.
The province has agreed to fund its move into a new building, but Horwath notes that oral health and foot care are on the chopping block unless more operating dollars are approved by the local health integration network.
Horwath challenged Matthews as to whether or not she believes it’s her job to “make sure the people of this province get the health care services they deserve”.
Horwath also stresses that she’s been trying to get the minister to intervene in the dispute for several months.
While Matthews says it’s a “fantastic model” for delivering holistic care, she says the Local Health Integration Network has to give its blessing first.
Horwath says the LHIN has refused to release the money for a new building and programs unless there are staffing cuts.