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Petition to reopen Minden ER under provincial supervision sets goal of 100,000 signatures

A new petition to reopen the Minden ER closure has set a lofty goal.

Patrick Porzuczek, founder of the Save the Minden ER campaign, says they’re targeting 100,000 signatures by September. He explains the petition calls on the Ministry of Health (MOH) to invoke Ontario’s Public Hospitals Act and reopen the site under an MOH-appointed supervisor.

“We’re calling on the MOH to actually come forward and appoint a supervisor over HHHS, just so we can get some clarification and maybe some of the questions we need answered,” says Porzuczek. “Having a supervisor will basically take control of the whole hospital board, see what’s been happening in the background, and see if it was the right decision to close the Minden emergency room.”

While Haliburton Highlands Health Services (HHHS) held the first of four town halls last week to address the closure, Porzuczek says it left the community with “even more questions,” including around the agency’s spending and transparency of board meetings.

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To reach the signature goal, Porzuczek says they’ll circulate the petition throughout Ontario communities also facing hospital reductions and closures, such as Carleton, Durham, and Bancroft. “What we’re going to try to do is unite more of Ontario. Get a stronger message out there. Get it more in front of the government and the MOH to start stepping in and worrying about public healthcare,” he says.

While it falls short of an emergency department, Porzuczek says he’s very impressed with the Kawartha North Family Health Team’s urgent care clinic, which opened at the site on Friday.

“What [the health team] is doing there, it’s fantastic for the community,” says Porzuczek. “We just need a lot more hours available. And it’s still not the ER. When you suffer from a heart attack, stroke, or even the child that was traumatically injured in the fishing derby, you need the ER right here.”

Porzuczek says that he witnessed a young girl catch a stray fishhook during Minden’s Canada Day fishing derby, who had to wait almost an hour before arriving at the Haliburton Hospital.

“This little girl was sitting with a fishhook in her eye for 50 minutes, when the Minden ER was less than a five second ride down the road,” says Porzuczek. “Having a child go through such a traumatic experience, for the father to experience this, that is unacceptable health care. That is not accessible health care, not emergency health care, and that child should not have gone through that traumatic event for that long.”

Porzuczek says the petition has more than 3,000 signatures so far, and will be delivered to Queen’s Park when the legislature re-convenes in September. He adds only physical signatures are valid, and asks anyone interested in signing to visit the group’s Facebook page for more information.

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