Media Advisory - Rally to protest closure of 20% of beds at Winchester District Memorial Hospital

WINCHESTER, ON, March 24, 2014 /CNW/ - Despite the fact that almost all categories of patient care were at their highest levels ever, in 2012/13, 20% of beds at the Winchester and District Memorial Hospital are slated to close - the most significant bed closures in Eastern Ontario. Staff represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees will rally at the hospital (566 Louise St, Winchester) on Monday March 24 at noon to protest the closures.

"In 2012 and 2013 surgeries, emergency visits, chemotherapy visits and inpatients admitted were at their highest level" says Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions of CUPE. "A sharp increase in patient discharges in the last quarter, used to justify the bed closures, coincides with the fiscal year end. We believe that the hospital is being manipulated, using the funding formula, into cutting beds and the staff complement, threatening the quality of care. We see this pattern across rural eastern Ontario, with bed and program cuts in Renfrew, Arnprior, Perth and Smith's Falls and Winchester."

Ontario has the fewest acute care hospital beds to population of any province in Ontario or any country in the OECD. The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions has just released a major study of the impact of years of acute care bed closures on hospital patients.

SOURCE Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (CUPE)

For further information:

Michael Hurley, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE 416-884-0770
Stella Yeadon, Canadian Union of Public Employees Communications 416-559-9300