SMITH'S FALLS, ON, June 13, 2012 /CNW/ - Smith's Falls hospital is typical of small, community hospitals: it is well managed. The provincial government's funding plan means rural hospitals will get a 0 per cent increase this year. This is actually a cut of more than 5 per cent because costs such as physician salaries, drugs and medical supplies and technologies rise faster than the rate of inflation.
While part of the NDP-Liberal deal to avoid an election includes $20 million for small hospitals, on overall hospital funding, this totals just over 0.1 per cent. For small hospitals like Smith's Falls, the funding increase is miniscule and dooms Ontario's 55 small hospitals to service cuts.
Tomorrow's (June 14, 2012 - 12:00 noon) demonstration in Smith's Falls at the Perth and Smith's Falls District Hospital, Cornelia Street West, is the start of a campaign by hospital staff to protect hospital services from cuts and privatization.
At the end of April, the leadership of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) the hospital division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) representing over 30,000 hospital staff province-wide, unanimously endorsed a plan of escalating actions to defend Ontario hospitals from cuts and privatization.
In addition to concerns over inadequate provincial funding for hospitals, hospital workers are also very concerned about the government's plans to consolidate surgeries out of rural communities, like Smith's Falls, into larger urban centers and to move surgical procedures into independent health facilities, which "is a first step to privatizing these procedures," says OCHU president Michael Hurley.
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