PEMBROKE, ON, July 14, 2015 /CNW/ - The postcard campaign directed to the Minister of Health, Eric Hoskins, kicked off last week and has already burned through 5,000 postcards. These have now gone into a second printing. " We are asking the Minister for additional funding for the hospital to stop the medical and pediatric bed closures. We are also calling on the province to intervene to stop the contracting out of the sterilization of surgical instruments, " says Cindy Schulz, president of CUPE local 1502.
Staff of Pembroke Regional Hospital represented by CUPE held a lunch hour demonstration on July 7 to protest plans to cut beds and privatize services.
Pembroke Regional Hospital closed 5 medical and 2 pediatric beds due to a budget deficit. Ontario has frozen hospital funding for 4 years. Estimates cited by the Auditor General calculate that hospitals need a 5.8% increase annually to meet their basic costs. Ontario spends the least on its public hospitals of any province in Canada and has the fewest beds to population of any province.
The hospital is planning to contract out sterilization of surgical instruments to a Toronto area company. "Unfortunately the experience with this company is not positive, with blood and bone matter returning on instruments which have been inadequately cleaned to at least one major hospital they service. A regional hospital, 500 km away rom the proposed sterilization facility, should surely have its own independent sterilization capacity," says Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE.
Downsizing and closing hospitals, cutting beds and privatizing diagnostic and clinical services are central to the provincial Liberal government's health care changes. Hospitals in smaller communities are particularly threatened under this plan.
A community meeting will be held in Pembroke on July 30 to mobilize against the cuts and privatization.
SOURCE Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (CUPE)
For further information: Cindy Schulz, President, CUPE Local 1502: (613) 735-0977; Michael Hurley, President, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE (OCHU): (416) 884-0770