Linda McCurdy, the provincial Liberal candidate for Windsor West, said Wednesday that she does not intend to contest the location of a new regional hospital if elected.
Following a campaign event Tuesday where she discussed emergency health care in downtown Windsor, comments attributed to McCurdy by the media, including the Windsor Star, led to strong rebukes Wednesday from Windsor Regional Hospital and Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens.
“What I said was the Liberal government is committed to funding the hospital wherever it is,” McCurdy said Wednesday. “I am not committing to taking up the issue of relocating or revisiting where the community has said the hospital should be. It’s not about 42, it’s about accessible ER services for West Windsor and downtown.”
The Windsor-Essex Acute Care Hospital is slated to be built on County Road 42.
McCurdy said a discussion on the hospital’s location came in response to a reporter’s question and she responded that the Liberals considered location to be a local issue.
“The reporter asked if I had an issue with 42 and I said no,” McCurdy said. “I’m not disputing where the location is. It’s these types of mistakes, when words get twisted, that make it hard to take a stance.”
McCurdy said her concern with the new hospital plan is rooted in whether residents in the downtown area and west end would have 24/7 access to emergency care services in the core area.
The hospital issued a statement Wednesday clarifying that it has proposed to operate a satellite emergency department at the Ouellette campus around the clock, though the hours have yet to be determined by the province.
“Windsor Regional Hospital, through its clinical physician and administrative leadership, has stated during the planning process that the Ouellette Campus urgent care centre is a satellite emergency department that will be staffed by emergency room physicians and nurses,” the statement continued.
Hospital spokesman Steve Erwin said Wednesday, “we have made it clear we have asked for a 24/7 satellite emergency department at the Ouellette campus and we have always made clear it will be operated by ER physicians and nurses.
“The final determination on hours of operation is based on various factors including historical numbers, projections and actual demand.”
It’s a formula developed and implemented across the province by the Ministry of Health, according to Erwin.
Dilkens’ office reached out Wednesday looking to comment on statements attributed to McCurdy as well.
“After multiple appeals and a tribunal, the matter has been litigated twice and has been decided,” Dilkens said. “The fact of the matter is the location has been decided.”
He noted the hospital plan being implemented is basically the same one put forth by the previous Liberal government “but the thing is they didn’t give us any money for it.”
Dilkens said it was the Doug Ford Progressive Conservative government that committed the $10 million in funding necessary to move the plan to Stage 2 which means “we will get a hospital and now it’s a matter of when.”