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Community Update: Stayner Lab to Remain Open

Protecting Rural Health Care(March 24, 2011 - Community Update)  I have an update on the medical lab issue.  Thanks to our persistence, the Stayner lab will now stay open for the "foreseeable future."   As you will recall, the Stayner lab closed on September 27, 2010 forcing patients to travel out-of-town for medical procedures like blood tests.   This caused all sorts of problems, including longer line-ups in Collingwood and Wasaga Beach. 

After hearing from constituents, we immediately launched an aggressive campaign to get the lab in Stayner re-opened.  We brought the issue to the floor of the Legislature through petitions , Members' Statements and by questioning the government in Question Period .  I also debated the issue with the Minister of Health at the Standing Committee on Estimates .  All told, the issue was raised 22 times on 22 different occasions at Queen's Park, not including countless letters and various meetings with senior officials.

These efforts, which were aided immensely by letters from constituents, a Resolution from Clearview Council, and more than 5,000 signatures on petitions, led to the temporary re-opening of the Stayner lab on December 6, 2010 - about two months after we started our campaign.  As an aside, I want to acknowledge Lynda McNicol of Collingwood who gets the medal for collecting the most signatures.

After continuing to push this issue, we now have a commitment from LifeLabs to keep Stayner open for the "foreseeable future," instead of the earlier permanent closure date which was scheduled for the end of February.  The company has also assured me that if that decision changes, they will notify me months in advance so that we can deal with it appropriately.

This isn't over yet.  We still have to keep pushing the McGuinty Liberals to stop the erosion of rural health services.  We need to know that these services will stay permanently.  While we continue to push for that, we can be satisfied that the services that local families rely on will stay in place until we can get the government to resolve the deeper issues.

Now that we have Stayner and Tottenham back open, and Wasaga Beach expanded, we now have to focus our efforts on Elmvale.  I encourage everyone affected by this issue, regardless of where you live, to help us push to get Elmvale re-opened too.  We all know how important these services are and what we know is that when we all work together, and when we stay persistent, we can win.

Thanks again for your ongoing support.  I'll continue to keep you updated on this and other local healthcare issues.

Sincerely,


Jim Wilson, MPP
Simcoe-Grey

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