REVISED - Kingston hospital considers contracting out services; residents must not let public health services erode



    KINGSTON, ON, Aug. 28 /CNW Telbec/ - Kingston General Hospital's move to
consider contracting out the management of food services to private operators
could be yet another step in losing control of public health services,
according to the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario and the
Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU). With the hospital now under the
control of a provincial supervisor, the union is concerned that, rather than
fund the hospital properly, the province will cut or contract out services as
has happened with other hospitals facing deficits.
    "First, the hospital's CEO was fired. Now, the management of food
services is being considered for contracting out to a private operator. We
believe this could be the start of cuts and erosion of public health services
at this hospital," said OCHU President Michael Hurley. "Rather than fund this
hospital properly, the provincial government and Local Health Integration
Network (LHIN) are using the hospital's deficit to cut services that residents
have bought and paid for with their tax dollars."
    Hurley said the situation is similar to Ajax-Pickering Hospital, which is
also facing a deficit. That hospital is shutting down cardiology, surgery and
rehab beds, transferring services out of the community and compromising the
quality of care by laying off up to 220 front line workers. "Kingston
residents must not let the provincial Minister of Health and the LHIN do that
to this community's health care services. Former CEO Joe De Mora was fired
because he refused to cut $17 million in hospital services so it's now up to
residents to say no to cuts or contracting out," he said.
    That is one of the reasons CUPE Ontario is putting on a free rock concert
with April Wine and guest band SAB tomorrow night at the Kingston Memorial
Centre according to Louis Rodrigues, President of CUPE 1974. "It's a way to
celebrate and bring home to residents the need to stand up for quality public
services and not let politicians starve them of funds or sell them off through
privatization, contracting out or relocation of these jobs and services."
    John Hale, President of CUPE 109 representing municipal workers, added
that Kingston's citizens coalition and CUPE have successfully stopped garbage
recycling and one of the city's arenas from being privatized. "Often
municipalities think that public-private partnerships (P3s) will save them
money when building arenas, water treatment plants and other community
facilities, but they're wrong," said Hale. "Because for-profit operators must
make a profit, P3s cost more and deliver less. We're watching the K-Rock
Centre that was privatized. We believe it's only a matter of time as to
whether taxpayers will end up funding this facility."




For further information:

For further information: Michael Hurley, President, Ontario Council of
Hospital Unions, (416) 884-0770; Louis Rodrigues, President, CUPE 1974, (613)
531-1319; David Robbins, CUPE Communications, (613) 878-1431

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Canadian Union of Public Employees - Ontario Regional Office

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