"Tinkering with flawed contract bidding ill-advised," say personal support workers, advocacy groups



    CUPE sets up 1-888-599-0770 home care hotline
    Calls for public hearings to build not-for-profit home care system

    TORONTO, March 11 /CNW Telbec/ - Tinkering with a flawed and expensive
contract bidding system is ill-advised and will not yield better quality care
for Ontario's growing and ageing population, say front line staff and
not-for-profit home care advocates calling for a permanent end to home
competitive bidding and province-wide public hearings to build a fully public,
not-for-profit system.
    Patricia Pitt-Anderson, a personal support worker (PSW) with a Toronto
home care agency and a member of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
urged Premier Dalton McGuinty to intervene personally to end home care
competitive bidding.
    "I am appealing directly to the Premier to put the care back in home
care," said Pitt-Anderson who has worked as a PSW for 20 years. She sees the
"bad effects of contract competition every day on the job. There is a shortage
of workers because the work is hard and our wages are low. I'm forced to rush
through visits providing care. Then I rush to the next patient. That's not
quality care."
    The evidence against home care competitive bidding is stacking up. Since
competition was introduced, the quality of care has suffered, working
conditions have diminished, and costs have increased, as for-profit providers
have taken over home care province-wide.
    "Ontario is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to prop up the
system of competitive bidding which has diminished the scope of services
available for Ontario's most frail and vulnerable residents. The problems in
Ontario's home care system are so severe they have resulted in two
province-wide moratoriums already. It is time for Premier Dalton McGuinty to
ensure that a proper process and full set of policy options receive due
consideration, nothing less will do," said Natalie Mehra, Director of the
Ontario Health Coalition (OHC).
    The OHC is holding home care town hall forums in Peterborough, Guelph,
Kingston, and Toronto.
    After halting home care competitive bidding for the second time in four
years, the Ontario Liberal government is again considering its next steps for
home care delivery. But the review is being done without input or public
consultations with Ontarians.
    With Ontario's seniors' population set to double in the next 16 years,
"many more of us will access some type of community-based home care in the
near future," said Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of
Hospital Unions (OCHU). CUPE/OCHU is calling for province-wide public hearings
on building a public, not-for-profit, cooperative model for home care.
"Competitive bidding and for-profit delivery is unsuited for publicly funded
home care. We should have a say on building a system that improves care for
patients and working conditions for front line home care staff."
    While the province is doing an internal review of competitive bidding,
CUPE wants to hear about people's experiences with home care under a
competitive model. Beginning today, a home care hotline number -              
 (1-888-599-0770) - will be available for people to relay stories about the
level of service and working conditions. Over the next few weeks, CUPE will
announce the hotline number in Sudbury, North Bay, Niagara, Ottawa, Thunder
Bay, Windsor, Cornwall, Oshawa, Barrie, Kitchener/Waterloo.




For further information:

For further information: Michael Hurley, President, Ontario Council of
Hospital Unions, (416) 844-0770; Patricia Pitt-Anderson, President, CUPE 3808,
(416) 970-5443; Natalie Mehra, Director, Ontario Health Coalition, (416)
230-6402; Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications, (416) 578-8774

Organization Profile

Ontario Health Coalition

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Canadian Union of Public Employees - Ontario Regional Office

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