Province dodging adequate funding for Kingston health services, say hospital workers at advocacy campaign kickoff



    KINGSTON, ON, Nov. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - The McGuinty government must listen
to the legitimate concerns of community health care advocates and take
responsibility for funding gaps affecting local health service levels while
the health system undergoes restructuring, said the president of Canadian
Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1974, representing 1,400 front line
staff at Kingston General Hospital (KGH) at a media conference today.
    The media conference kicked off a CUPE 1974 campaign focused on community
advocacy as the Ontario Liberal government moves on radical health system
changes under Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) that many anticipate
will affect local health service levels.
    "Our campaign," said Rodrigues, "is a direct response to the approach
we've seen here where the province is using the Liberal MPP and LHIN head as
its agents to attempt to shutdown KGH's advocacy efforts for adequate funding.
    "We are very concerned that this approach to silence advocacy will be
mirrored across the province as the McGuinty Liberals - with a new four year
mandate - move quickly to merge, cut and transfer services, as they introduce
competition between health service providers and a pricing system for
procedures."
    Since the McGuinty Liberals announced changes to health service funding
and delivery using a regional system, CUPE 1974 has cautioned that the LHINs
would be used by the province to contain health care costs - through merging,
cutting and transferring health services out of local communities - across the
large area of the South East Health Integration Network.
    "We are not going to let the provincial government dodge its
responsibilities. We are not going to let the government divide us and play
one health care provider against the other. We will stand up to any government
agent trying to muzzle anyone voicing genuine concerns about heath service
underfunding," said Rodrigues.
    At a rally held outside KGH immediately following the media conference,
Rodrigues outlined the CUPE 1974 advocacy campaign that includes:

    
    - Lobbying efforts to ensure KGH receives adequate provincial funding
      without service cuts to any community health services,
    - Local radio and television advertising,
    - Support of a community forum organized by the Ontario Health Coalition
      (OHC) and the local Kingston Health Coalition (KHC) on Monday,
      November 26 - 7:00 p.m. at Kingston City Hall.
    




For further information:

For further information: Louis Rodrigues, President, CUPE 1974, (613)
531-1319; Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications, (416) 578-8774

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