Media Advisory - Minister asked to request Pembroke Regional Hospital delay signing contract to sterilize its surgical instruments

PEMBROKE, ON, Nov. 12, 2015 /CNW/ - Ontario's Minister of Health should ask the Pembroke Regional Hospital's Board of Directors to delay signing a contract for the sterilization of its surgical instruments until the hospital has investigated issues raised about the quality of the service, CUPE asked today.  One Toronto hospital is trying to get out of its contract with the same company over quality concerns.

"If blood and bone matter return caked onto surgical instruments as they have at one major Toronto hospital and those instruments can't be used in surgery, Pembroke is not next door- it is a 5 to 6 hour drive from the sterilization facility. We don't believe that the hospital has done a thorough and comprehensive investigation of the performance of this provider and of the risks," says Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE.  "On the eve of the hospital signing a contract, we ask the Minister to ask the hospital to pause."

"We have asked the Board of Directors at the hospital for the opportunity to meet to discuss the bed and staff cutbacks and the sterilization of surgical instruments. We think they need to take a second look at this proposal to contract out sterilization. A concern in addition to quality is the huge expenditure the hospital must now make on surgical trays and equipment to use this contractor," says Cindy Shulz, president of CUPE local 1502, which represents staff at the hospital.

Pembroke Regional Hospital closed 5 medical and all its pediatric beds this year. Ontario froze hospital funding for the last 4 years. Estimates cited by the Auditor General suggest that hospitals need a 5.8% increase annually to meet their basic costs. As a result, the hospital has suffered a budget cut in real terms of more than 20%. Ontario spends 25.4% less per capita on its public hospitals than any province in Canada and has the fewest beds to population of any province, or of any country with a developed economy in the world.                


SOURCE Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (CUPE)

For further information: Cindy Schulz, President, CUPE Local 1502: (613) 735-0977; Michael Hurley, president, Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE (OCHU): (416) 884-0770; Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications: 416-559-9300


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