Media Advisory - One-time funding infusion for NBRHC is not enough, demonstration planned for November 9

NORTH BAY, ON, Nov. 9, 2015 /CNW/ - CUPE will hold a protest on Monday November 9 at noon at the North Bay Regional Health Centre to ask the provincial government for adequate ongoing funding for the hospital. North Bay Regional Health Centre has axed hundreds of beds and staff since 3 independent hospitals merged into one. 158 staff cuts and 30 bed closures were most recently announced. A major demonstration organized by the Ontario Healthcare Coalition will be held Nov. 30 in North Bay.

"4,150 North Bay citizens participated in a town hall held October 22 held to discuss the cutbacks at the hospital," says Shawn Shank, president of CUPE local 139. "83% had experience of personal or familial use of NBRHC services in the last year and 52% found problems with accessing care or with the quality of care. This is a very good indicator that despite heroic efforts by NBRHC staff, the public feels the impact sharply of the ongoing cuts to the hospital."

"Ontario has frozen hospital funding for 4 years. Estimates cited by the Auditor General calculate that hospitals need a 5.8% increase annually just to meet their basic costs. The budget for the North Bay Regional Health Centre has been cut by over 20% in real terms over the last 4 years. Readmission rates show a sharp increase, as the quality of care is breaking down," says Sharon Richer, northeastern vice-president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU).

"North Bay is squeezed between the P3 model it was forced to use to build the new hospital and a 4-year operational funding freeze," says Michael Hurley, President of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE. "Ontario doesn't fund its hospitals properly - it lags the rest of Canada on per capita hospital spending by 25.4%. The suggestion by MPP Vic Fedeli that one-time funding would be sufficient is not at all helpful. NBRHC is badly under-funded, under-bedded and under-staffed and desperately needs an infusion of 6% annually to allow it to meet its basic costs."

SOURCE Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (CUPE)

For further information: Shawn Shank, President, CUPE Local 139: (705)-492-3600; Sharon Richer, Northeastern Ontario Vice-president OCHU: (705)-280-0911; Michael Hurley, President OCHU: (416) 884-0770; Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications: (416)-559-9300


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