Ontario government, distracted by federal election, should address case of Alberta woman forced to medevac to Sudbury at a cost of $30,000

OTTAWA, Aug. 12, 2015 /CNW/ - While the federal election is a compelling distraction, the Ontario government needs to focus on addressing both the case of an Alberta woman forced to medevac to Sudbury to give birth safely, and the conditions that caused the problem in the first place - the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE (OCHU) said today. Amy Savill, an Alberta woman was forced to take an air ambulance to Sudbury to safely have her baby because Timmins hospital was not equipped to deal with premature births. The cost of the potentially life-saving flight will potentially reach $30,000.

"Ontario has been aggressively downsizing and centralizing obstetric services and the impact of this is most acutely felt in northern Ontario. Medical staff at the Timmins and District Hospital, advised Amy Savill to fly to Sudbury because they were unable to care for her safely there. The Government's hospital cuts have done serious damage to the accessibility of hospital services in Ontario, and the Wynne Government needs start repairing that damage rather than focus on federal politics. No Canadian, including Ms. Savill, should be forced to personally bear the cost of a deliberate policy of centralization of birthing services," says Michael Hurley the president of OCHU.

According to the Canadian Institute of Health Information, childbirth is the leading cause of hospitalization in Ontario, and nearly 1 in 10 babies are born prematurely. "How can a wealthy province like Ontario not have the capacity to ensure the safe delivery of every baby born in a major community? Staff at the Timmins & District Hospital are staying silent on the issue, but it is clear that Ms. Savill's case has lifted the curtain on a serious – and growing – problem. Hundreds of moms and their families are being forced to travel and to pay hotel and other costs just to have a baby safely," Hurley said.

An OCHU report, Pushed Out of Northern Hospitals, Abandoned at Home: After Twenty Years of Budget Cuts, Ontario's Health System is Failing Patients, that looked at the impact of the provincial Liberal government's hospital funding policies, found that the north has felt the brunt of hospital budget cuts most. The report was being released in 25 northern communities in July 2015.

SOURCE Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (CUPE)

For further information: Michael Hurley, president, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU): 819-456-2159; Eric Newstadt, Researcher, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU): 416-599-0770


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