Review of services at Northumberland Hills Hospital misses the real problem: provincial cuts to hospitals

COBOURG, ON, Sept. 21, 2015 /CNW/ - "The announcement of a review of services at the Northumberland Hills Hospital misses the real problem-deep cuts to hospital budgets by the provincial Liberal government " said Michael Hurley, President of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE today. "This announcement comes on top of 4 years of budget cuts, which have reduced the Northumberland hospital budget by over 20% in real terms," Hurley explained.

Hospitals across Ontario are cutting services in the face of a 5-year funding freeze imposed by the provincial Liberal government. An Ontario's Auditor General report quotes studies which estimated that hospitals need a 5.8% increase in funding each year just to keep pace with the costs of drugs and medical technologies which are rising faster than the general rate of inflation. The freeze has cut hospital budgets by over 20% in real terms. Ontario hospitals were already the most efficient hospitals in the country with the fewest beds and staff and the shortest lengths of stay going into the budget freeze. Ontario spends $350 less per capita than any other province in Canada.

Ontario's Liberals dropped the corporate income tax rate to the lowest in North America, and economists estimate that the province has lost nearly $20 billion in revenue. This drop in tax revenue triggered austerity in provincial expenditures including a 5-year funding freeze for Ontario hospitals, already the worst funded per capita in Canada.

" Ontario's hospitals are the least expensive and most efficient in the country and they are starved of operating revenue. It's time for the provincial government to reverse the deep cuts it has made in hospital budgets in Ontario, " said Peggy Smith, president of CUPE Local 2628. " We are asking the Ontario Healthcare Coalition to help us to respond in the community to the review, with a community meeting and a day of action."

SOURCE Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (CUPE)

For further information: Michael Hurley, President, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions: 416-884-0770; Peggy Smith, President, CUPE Local 2628 : 905-885-4005; Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications: 416-559-9300


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