By Samantha Reed 
TRENTON – An estimated 500 people braved the cold Friday afternoon to rally for Trenton Memorial Hospital.
Local residents, and members of Our TMH, Canadian labour union UNIFOR, Ontario Nurses Association and the Ontario Health Coalition gathered at Centennial Park in Trenton.
The announcement of layoffs at Quinte Health Care and the movement of some surgical services from TMH to Belleville General has sparked outrage among citizens living in the area.
Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition said she was surprised by the amount of people who attended the event.
“I was thrilled, it was really cold. For such a cold, wet day to have roughly 500 people or more there, that’s pretty amazing. I think that sends a very strong message,” she said.
That message is that the cuts to healthcare have to stop.
“Towns like Trenton and Quinte West are being devastated. In fact every town is, from large to small. What it means for small towns is there is less to cut in the first place, and it throws the hospitals into crisis,” said Mehra.
Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith attended the rally and said the cuts are affecting all of the hospitals in the area.
“When cuts are made at Trenton Memorial Hospital, it impacts all of the hospitals in our region. The three hospitals will be negatively impacted in Bancroft, Belleville and Prince Edward County because of cuts made at TMH,” he said.
If services are cut at Trenton Memorial, more people will be going to Belleville General. This means wait times will be significantly longer for patients, said Smith.
“It’s really important that the provincial government realizes how important Trenton Memorial Hospital is to this region. They have to stop making cuts to our local hospitals,” he said.
Rallies have been held at both Trenton Memorial Hospital and Centennial Park to protest ongoing cuts. This is the first in a series of four Ontario Health Coalition rallies being held across the province.
Full story to come.