Media Advisory - Ontario Health Coalition Plans Protest At Health Minister's

TORONTO, April 6 /CNW/ -

    When:     Wednesday, April 7 at 11 am

    Where:    Royal York Hotel (sidewalk), Toronto

    Who:      The Ontario Health Coalition is the largest public interest
              group on health care in Ontario. Our mandate is to protect the
              principles of the Canada Health Act and contribute to
              democratic debate about decisions affecting our health and
              health services. Our members include 400 organizations as well
              as thousands of patients, seniors, community members, hospital
              workers, health professionals and nurses concerned about
              ongoing cuts to local hospital services.

    What:     The Minister of Health has consistently downplayed and ignored
              her government's cuts that have closed entire hospitals for
              thousands of Ontarians, reduced hospital services, increased
              user fees, downloaded patients into inappropriate facilities,
              and promoted for-profit privatization. In addition, the
              Ministry of Health has systematically wiped out local elected
              hospital boards and hospital democracy across Ontario.

              This year, for the third year in a row, the provincial budget
              plans a significant gap between global hospital funding rates
              and hospital inflation (1.5%:3%). This means ongoing hospital
              cuts, longer wait times for some services, destruction of local
              hospital capacity, continued instability and dislocation of
              hospital staff, and closures of local hospitals.

              Now, the government has announced its intention to bring in a
              funding scheme that would, if implemented, commodify hospital
              services, create a pricing and billing system that is the
              foreshadowing of fully privatized hospitals, and force
              hospitals to shrink the scope of services they provide to their
              local populations.

              Fed up with the Ministry's anti-democratic approach to hospital
              restructuring and its disregard for public needs and concerns,
              the OHC has called for a protest outside the health minister's

              The Minister is slated to talk at 11:45 am inside. She is
              expected to attempt to justify cutting and closing local
              hospital services as "quality" care. Research on the relative
              dangers of longer traveling distance versus higher treatment
              volumes is often non-existent or contradictory for many
              hospital procedures. Such proposals have met with deep public
              opposition and a lack of consensus among policy makers and
              clinical experts. There is no jurisdiction with the geography,
              lack of transport infrastructure, and population distribution
              of Ontario that has undertaken to centralize hospital services
              out of local communities as is underway here.

SOURCE Ontario Health Coalition

For further information: For further information: (416) 441-2502 or cell (416) 230-6402

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Ontario Health Coalition

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