Hospital incidents lead to call for crisis teams

[attach]6352[/attach]The recent tragic shootings in Toronto have pained us all. My heart goes out to the family, friends and neighbours of those effected.
These events remind us our safety cannot be taken for granted. Closer to home, I have held several community safety meetings, as a response to concerns from local residents.

I also got a lot of calls about the two recent high profile incidents involving the Toronto East General Hospital. So I organized a community meeting along with councillor Janet Davis. Representatives from both the police and the hospital attended as did MPP Michael Prue.

At public meetings, I like the focus to be on listening to residents. I like to ensure everybody has their say, not just the politicians and the experts.

Residents spoke about how great it was to have a hospital in the middle of our community. They praised the hospital for the hard work it has done over the past few years. As I have experienced at all of my community safety meetings, there was also great praise for the police. Some residents talked about some unfortunate situations at the hospital. There was much concern and sadness about the shooting of a hospital patient and the prisoner who left the hospital without permission.

Both the hospital and the police have been doing a great job but they need our help. Residents felt something was needed to help the police and hospital work better together when patients go missing from the hospital or when someone experiences a mental health crisis.

Special teams for dealing with this are called Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams or MCITs. Both the police and hospital said that this would be a good first step. The funding for such teams comes from the provincial government. So, I organized a petition of the appropriate government agency asking that they fund an MCIT at East General.

I will continue to work with other elected officials, local residents, the police and the hospital to advocate for this important safety measure.

Ward 29 residents are also concerned about the possible closure of 54 Division. More public meetings on that issue are planned for the fall. For more details on this issue and about getting an MCIT at East General, visit my website at

Though Toronto has a great track record as a low crime city, we cannot rest on our laurels.