Hamilton home care sector suffers loss of experience and continuity through competitive bidding - CUPE warns

    HAMILTON, ON, Dec. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - The Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant
Community Care Access Centre's decision to 'disqualify' two non-profit
providers, following a competitive bidding process for home health care
services, will result in clients losing the quality of care and experience
provided by dedicated staff, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees
(CUPE), representing 25 clerical workers who are losing their jobs at St.
Joseph's Health Care.
    "How can St. Joe's suddenly not be qualified to provide home care for
clients when the staff have been taking care of them for years," said Jan
Ouzas, CUPE 4800 president. "Some of our members have almost two decades of
experience providing service to clients and administrative support to nurses
at the centre - clients will now be on the losing end of a process that should
never have been allowed to happen. Our members know their clients and the
community they serve, and now that continuity will be lost."
    In addition to St. Joseph, the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) was also
informed that they were 'disqualified' and eliminated through the competitive
bidding process. St. Joseph and VON have a combined 197 years of service in
the Hamilton community and are responsible for 80 per cent of home care
patients in the Hamilton-Burlington area. St. Joseph's Home Care's current
contract expires on March 31, 2008.
    "This competitive bidding process for home health care is a race to the
bottom," added Ouzas. "In this degrading race, only for-profit companies will
win because their focus will be on the bottom line - this translates to lower
wages and benefits for staff and from our experience, lowers the quality of
care for patients as the new focus will be on earning profits."
    "We are working with other affected groups to see how our members can
continue providing quality services to clients in the community," said Ouzas.
"We are reviewing all our options as we help our members through this
difficult period."

For further information:

For further information: Jan Ouzas, CUPE 4800 President, (905) 385-4555;
Cheri Dobbs, CUPE National Representative, (905) 575-5411; James Chai, CUPE
Communications, (416) 292-3999

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