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The curtain has yet to fall on the Rivera interim long-term care facility.
The 65-bed long-term care home is scheduled to close on Oct. 31 but proponents of the facility say the fight isn’t over. Members of the Thunder Bay Health Coalition went before city council to gather support and held a small demonstration outside the facility Friday to raise awareness to the public.
Evelina Pan, co-chair of the Health Coalition, said it doesn’t make sense to close Rivera when the city is already losing 28 beds at the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital Geriatric Unit.
The Northwestern Local Health Integration Network has the longest overall median wait times for placement compared to other regions in Ontario. Wait times range from 181 days in the Northwest region to 114 days for the Northeast region and 98 for North Simcoe Muskoka.
Pan said if they want to keep Rivera then the community has to step up and help them fight.
“It’s easy enough to keep them open,” Pan said. "It’s only interim if they want it to be. (The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre) could easily fill the 65 beds. The government’s own data shows wait times for long-term care in the Northwest LHIN are more than double than the provincial average. The public has to stand up to stop the cuts.”
Council invited representatives from the LHINs to come and speak at a meeting but Jules Tupker, who works at the Long-Term Care Family Council Support Group, said they haven’t heard anything about that yet.
“I would have though the LHINs would have responded to council or at least made some public notification of what’s going on and they haven’t,” Tupker said.
“What sways policies is public outcry and that’s what we’re hoping. We hope our concerns gets the public up in arms.”
Bill Joblin, Thunder Bay Representative, SEIU Local 1 Canada, said eliminating those beds isn’t going to help the community and will only create more gridlock at the hospital.
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