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Gates says health care is top of mind

By Wayne Gates

It’s been a busy (and cold) winter, but I’ve appreciated catching up with every one of you who has taken the time to reach out and speak with me.

As the legislature resumes you’ve given me a very good sense of what issues are important to you, and what you would like raised. As I go back it is clear to me that residents want more action on healthcare.

Ever since the ridiculous and wrong decision to scale back services at Douglas Memorial, I have been passionate about ensuring that residents see more services come to the Town, not leave.

I believe it’s time to raise the issue of long-term care beds. Our community has one of the highest populations of seniors in the country.

Our parents build these communities for us and it’s time to be there for them.

I have always believed we must support seniors for as long as they want to stay at home, but sometimes long-term care is needed. While I am happy to see construction begin on a facility that will provide more beds for Fort Erie – I believe we can still use more throughout the Town.

This government has announced plans to create more beds and my priority is getting Niagara and Fort Erie their fair share.

I firmly believe that each resident requires a minimum guarantee of four hours of hands-on care and proper staffing.

I’m also going to raise an issue that continues to be near and dear to my heart – mental health care.

We’re finally breaking the stigma around mental health issues and letting our neighbours know that it’s okay to talk about it. That’s why I was happy to see the Legislature support my motion for increased mental health care funding.

I was very specific that no solution would be complete without free transportation to and from Fort Erie when people need help. Our beautiful Town is really a town of distinct communities and sometimes travel is prohibitive. Any time we’re talking medical care, mental or physical, the actual ability to access that must be taken into account.

This is only a snapshot of the issues I plan to raise on a daily basis. As always, I hope you’ll feel free to call, email or tweet me with your concerns and suggestions. Also keep an eye out for the mobile constituency offices set up by my staff all across Fort Erie which are designed to make our services even more accessible.

Wayne Gates can be reached at wgates-co@ndp.on.ca, or by calling 905-357-0681.