PEMBROKE, ON, Aug. 25, 2015 /CNW/ - The Pembroke Healthcare Coalition will rally Aug. 26 to press M.P.P. John Yakabuski to speak up about the cuts to beds and the privatization of sterilization services at Pembroke Regional Hospital. The rally will be held at Mr. Yakabuski's office, Unit 6, The Victoria Center, 84 Isabella Street in Pembroke. "Mr. Yakabuski promised to attend the July 31 community meeting and did not. He has also been completely silent about the cutbacks at the hospital and the contracting out of the sterilization of surgical instruments. We expect a lot more from our elected representative," says Cindy Schulz, president of CUPE members at the hospital.
Staff of the hospital held a lunch hour demonstration on July 7. A community meeting was held July 31. A postcard campaign directed to the Minister of Health has generated 7,000 postcards. A meeting with the hospital's board of directors has been requested.
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, indeed of any country with a developed economy in the world.
The hospital is contracting-out sterilization of surgical instruments to a Toronto area company. "Unfortunately the experience with this company is not good, with blood and bone matter returning on instruments to at least one major hospital they service. A regional hospital, like Pembroke, must 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