SAULT STE. MARIE, ON, July 27, 2015 /CNW/ - Although the Sault Area Hospital is making major cuts to nursing and direct patient care and closing 56 beds, to offset a $10 million drop in provincial funding, Sault Ste. Marie's MPP, David Orazietti, "is blissfully unaware, it seems, of the devastating impact of his government underfunding care at the hospital," says Michael Hurley the president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU).
Last week the province announced $7 million in new funding for small and rural hospitals. But there appears to be no new money for the hospital in Sault Ste. Marie.
Canadian Institute for Health Information paints a grim picture of health outcomes for northeastern Ontario residents including; shorter life expectancy; much higher rate of avoidable deaths and obesity and higher hospital readmissions than the provincial rates.
"Contrary to what Mr. Orazietti wants his constituents to believe, Sault Ste. Marie and northern Ontario overall are harshly affected by hospital cutbacks, exacerbated by the challenges of geography and by poverty, underemployment and health status. We think that as one of only four Liberal MPP's in northern Ontario, Mr. Orazietti should be advocating for increased hospital funding," says Hurley.
An OCHU report, Pushed Out of Northern Hospitals, Abandoned at Home: After Twenty Years of Budget Cuts, Ontario's Health System is Failing Patients that looks at the impact on northern Ontario patients and hospitals of the Liberal government's hospital funding policies found that the north has felt the brunt of hospital budget cuts most. The report is being released in 25 northern communities this month.
Hurley, along with Sudbury worker and northern vice-president, Sharon Richer, will hold a media conference on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 at 10 a.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion, 96 Great Northern Road to challenge Mr. Orazietti's government to fund the Sault Ste. Marie hospital adequately.
SOURCE Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (CUPE)
For further information: Michael Hurley, president, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU): 416-884-0770; Sharon Richer, OCHU northern Vice-President: 705-280-0911