Community meeting creates Pembroke Healthcare Coalition, organizes Aug. 26 rally

PEMBROKE, ON, July 31, 2015 /CNW/ - A well attended community meeting has created a Pembroke Healthcare Coalition, planned a rally August 26 and decided to request a meeting with the Pembroke Regional Hospital's Board of Directors in September.  " The public agreed to keep up the pressure on the Minister of Health for additional funding for the hospital to stop the medical and pediatric bed closures. The meeting also called on the province to intervene to stop the contracting out of the sterilization of surgical instruments, " says Cindy Schulz, president of CUPE local 1502.

Staff of Pembroke Regional Hospital held a lunch hour demonstration on July 7 to protest plans to cut beds and privatize services. A postcard campaign directed to the Minister of Health, Eric Hoskins, which kicked off a month ago, has already burned through 7,000 postcards.

Pembroke Regional Hospital closed 5 medical and 2 pediatric beds due to a budget deficit. Ontario has frozen hospital funding for 4 years. Estimates cited by the Auditor General calculate that hospitals need a 5.8% increase annually to meet their basic costs. Ontario spends the least on its public hospitals of any province in Canada and has the fewest beds to population of any province.

The hospital is planning to contract out sterilization of surgical instruments to a Toronto area company. "Unfortunately the experience with this company is not positive, with blood and bone matter returning on instruments which have been inadequately cleaned to at least one major hospital they service. A regional hospital should surely have its own independent sterilization capacity," says Louis Rodrigues, vice-president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE. 

Downsizing and closing hospitals, cutting beds and privatizing diagnostic and clinical services are central to the provincial Liberal government's health care changes. Hospitals in smaller communities are particularly threatened under this plan.

SOURCE Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (CUPE)

For further information: Cindy Schulz, President, CUPE Local 1502: (613) 735-0977; Louis Rodrigues, First VP,Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE (OCHU): (613) 531-1319


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