A call for the province to do more and prevent the closure of 31 mental health addiction beds at the North Bay Regional Health Centre.

It comes from the NDP’s Health Critic at Queen’s Park France Gelinas.

She says she understands there are efforts to improve services in the community through the work of the Mayor’s Roundtable but not at the expense of the beds at the hospital.

“A lot of people will fall through the cracks. A lot of people with severe addiction who are finally on the waiting list will be told suddenly they have to wait until new services are put in place,” she says.

North Bay’s mental health and addiction concerns will suffer if the beds at the North Bay Regional Health Centre close in five months.

So says Natalie Mehra, the Executive Director of the Ontario Health Coalition.

She says the choice shouldn’t be offer more services in the community or close the beds at the hospital.

Mehra says both services are needed.

” The evidence shows there are real gaps in the hospital and an improvement is needed and not a cut. And there are gaps in the community too,” she says.

MPP Vic Fedeli says these are community solutions and people who don’t live here shouldn’t be offering suggestions.

“I won’t take that from the NDP. They voted against spending $90 million dollars which gives free dental care to low income seniors,” he says.

Fedeli says leaders in the community are doing what’s best for the community.

“They decided what is best for people who suffer from mental health and addictions. They put this package together. This is the design that they have. They’re the experts,” Fedeli says.

(photo by station staff)

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