WIN! Cardiac patients to receive care at another facility in London

Council of Canadians London chapter activist Roberta Cory speaks at a rally to save the Cardiac Fitness Institute, March 15. Photo by Ange Lon.

The Council of Canadians London chapter and allies are marking a 'partial win' in their fight to save the Cardiac Fitness Institute that has helped heart patients with exercise, stress testing and counselling since 1981.

Earlier this week, the London Free Press reported, "Someone blinked. Protesters fighting the closing of a fitness centre for heart patients at Southwestern Ontario’s largest hospital are claiming a partial victory after they learned [on March 22] some of the centre’s functions will be transferred to another facility in London."

And yesterday another London Free Press article noted, "On Friday officials at the London Health Sciences Centre would not confirm or deny an online posting that patients at the cardiac centre would be transferred to the Canadian Centre of Activity and Aging, operated by Western University. ...[The centre] provides some of the same essential services to cardiac patients including stress tests and fitness classes..."

A confirmation on this is expected next week.

Joanne McIntosh, who has led the protests to save the Cardiac Fitness Institute, says, "At the start of this fight, LHSC's stance was to simply lock the doors of CFI, hand patients their medical files, and send them back to their family doctors. There was nothing in place, to address the CFI patients' need to be monitored and stress-tested in the future, and with this original plan, thousands of CFI patients would have fallen through the cracks of healthcare. LHSC has now implemented a plan to transfer the CFI patients, to the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging. Dr Larry Patrick [the founder and director of CFI] has emailed me, to say he is okay with this plan."

In her Facebook post, McIntosh thanks numerous allies including the Council of Canadians London chapter noting "your support has been so very much appreciated".

Among numerous actions, the chapter took part in a rally on March 15 at Liberal MPP Deb Matthews' office, a flash mob the following day with Premier Kathleen Wynne visited London, and another rally on March 20 at the LHSC Victoria Campus.

The chapter has posted on Facebook, "The fight to save the Cardiac Fitness Institute is over! A compromise has been found, and we wish all of the current and future patients of the new exercise and monitoring program well in their quest for good health!"

Tweet from Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party.