Hospitals need real funding increases and deficit assistance

KINGSTON, ON, Jan. 29 /CNW/ - The Ontario government must fund hospitals adequately and take a number of very concrete steps to save precious health care resources, a union representing 30,000 hospital and long-term care employees told a pre-budget provincial parliamentary committee this morning.

Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE Secretary-Treasurer Helen Fetterly asked the parliamentary committee to ensure that hospitals are adequately funded in 2010. "Many Ontario hospitals are in deficit because an aging population is using their services in greater and greater numbers. Ontario's hospital system is the most efficient hospital system in Canada, with the lowest beds and staff to patients ratio and a shortest length of stay of any province. The answer is not cuts, which will make the hospitals less efficient, but real funding increases."

Louis Rodrigues, Vice-president of OCHU/CUPE, told the committee, "The province needs to end its P3 hospital building program, which is wasting billions of dollars. We need to hire more hospital cleaners, which in Britain's National Health Service has saved millions by bringing down the toll and cost of hospital acquired infections. And we need to expand the use of fully qualified, cost-efficient registered practical nurses."

Ms. Fetterly also called on the province to exempt hospitals from the application of the HST.

SOURCE Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (CUPE)

For further information: For further information: Helen Fetterly: (613) 551-0688; Louis Rodrigues: (613) 531-1319; Michael Hurley, President, OCHU: (416) 884-0770

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