New Ottawa-Ontario health deal fails patient care: OPSEU

TORONTO, March 10, 2017 /CNW/ - Today's announcement that the federal government and Queen's Park have reached agreement on a new, 10-year funding formula for health care spending is a blow to patient care and opens the door to greater privatization of health services, the President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union said.

"This agreement falls well short of the principles that hold together our publicly-funded health care system, " said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "Based on the numbers released, Ontario will fall behind in meeting demand which will further weaken our publicly-funded Medicare and open the door to greater privatization of health care services.

"The only winners in this deal are the privateers who are plundering our public health care system through privatization of hospital services and long-term care facilities," he said.

In today's announcement, federal Health Minister Jane Philpott pledged Ontario would receive $4.2 billion in transfers from Ottawa over the next 10 years – an increase of about three per cent over the previous health care accord, and about half the amount that health care advocacy groups have been calling for. Additionally $2.3 billion has been earmarked for home care and $1.9 billion for mental health initiatives.

Unlike the previous 10-year health care accord where Ottawa negotiated with the all 10 provinces as a group, this time the Trudeau government walked away from the table in December, 2016, and said it would negotiate one-off deals with each province – a tactic that OPSEU told parliamentarians three months ago was certain to harm patient care.

OPSEU Executive Board Member Sara Labelle, who is also Chair of the union's hospital professionals division, said the deal announced today will only widen the inequality gap for patient services and foster a two-tier health system.

"Access to health care should be based on need and not on the size of your wallet," she said. "We will continue to fight for affordable, universal, accessible health care for all. I fear this agreement will serve to widen the inequality that, unfortunately, marks health care in Canada where people with means will access private care, while the vast majority will be left with an under-funded public system."

SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

For further information: Sara Labelle, 905-914-4037


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