Media advisory - Large Health Care Protests Target McGuinty for Cuts and Privatization - Health Coalition Expects Thousands on Saturday, September 27

    TORONTO, Sept. 24 /CNW Telbec/ - On Saturday, Sept. 27, concerned
citizens from across the province will join together to protest the McGuinty
government's health care cuts and privatization.
    The Ontario Health Coalition is reacting to recent announcements which
reveal that the McGuinty government has reneged on election promises to bring
in minimum care standards to protect seniors in nursing homes and to stop
for-profit privatization. In addition, the McGuinty government has started a
round of hospital restructuring that is forcing the biggest cuts to hospital
services since the Harris era.

    - Core hospital services like Emergency Rooms, labs, and birthing are
      being closed and moved out of communities across Ontario, forcing
      patients to travel long distances for care.
    - Hospital services like chiropody and physiotherapy are being closed,
      forcing patients to pay for two-tier services in private for-profit
      clinics or go without, despite McGuinty's core election campaign
      promises to oppose for-profit privatization of health care and
    - McGuinty is considering imposing decade-long for-profit privatization
      in homecare.
    - McGuinty has reneged on bringing in minimum care standards in nursing
      homes to protect residents and staff from alarming rates of violence,
      accidents, injury and neglect.

    WHAT:       CROSS-PROVINCE PROTESTS to be held in five cities:
                Toronto, Kingston, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Windsor

    WHEN:       Saturday, Sept. 27

    TIME:       11 am

    WHERE:      Toronto - At Metro Hall Square with a march to Queen's Park
                Kingston - At McBurney Park
                Sudbury - At Tom Davies Square
                Thunder Bay - At Paterson Park; Rally at MPP Bill Mauro's
                office at 1 pm
                Windsor - At Dieppe Park; Rally at MPP Dwight Duncan's office
                at 1 pm

    CONTACTS:  Individuals interested in taking a bus to the nearest protest
               should call the following numbers.

               Brampton - 905-696-8882      North Bay - 705-494-9302
               Brockville - 613-345-3785    Ottawa - 613-222-8392
               Cornwall - 613-330-3117      Owen Sound - 519-986-4553
               Guelph - 519-767-0084        Peterborough - 705-745-2446
               Hamilton - 905-547-1417      Port Colborne - 905-835-5021
               Kitchener - 519-585-3160     Port Elgin - 519-386-2342
               Leamington - 519-326-0752    Sarnia - 519-542-1895
               London - 519-434-5706        Toronto - 416-441-2502
               Niagara - 905-932-1646       Woodstock - 519-502-4300

    "McGuinty has budgeted less for hospitals' global budgets than the
inflation rate, meaning that there is not enough money to maintain the
existing range of services. We are now facing the most significant hospital
cuts in a decade," noted Natalie Mehra, Director of the Ontario Health
Coalition. "Ontario's hospitals already spend $100 per patient less than
hospitals in other provinces; we have the lowest average length of stay and we
staff at lower levels than the rest of Canada. We are tired of the shell-game
McGuinty is playing, hiding behind government-appointed LHINs while forcing
cuts. We have called this protest for our communities to stand up and refuse
to see one more service privatized or moved out of town."
    "Dalton McGuinty's choice to renege on his election promise means that
seniors and their nurses and careworkers will have to wait for proper
protection in nursing homes," added Mehra. Homecare patients will continue to
suffer with for-profit privatization and competitive bidding destabilizing
their care. This weekend we are sending a strong message to say 'Enough is
enough'. It is time McGuinty started to listen to the public interest in
health care, rather than simply continuing with Harris-style for-profit
privatization and deregulation."

For further information:

For further information: Natalie Mehra, Director of the Ontario Health
Coalition, (416) 441-2502

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Ontario Health Coalition

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