Scottish health minister rejects contracting out of cleaning services - so why are Ontario hospitals outsourcing cleaning jobs as infections grow?

    TORONTO, Oct. 21 /CNW Telbec/ - The Ontario government should look to the
example of the Scottish health minister and British nurses in the fight
against infections like C. difficile, health care workers said today.
    "Two days ago, Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon pledged to
reduce hospital infections by, in part, bringing cleaning services back
in-house and stopping the outsourcing of cleaning jobs," says Michael Hurley,
President, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE). "These are the kind
of steps we need to take here in Ontario if we want to safeguard health and
defeat hospital infections."
    Sunday's pledge from Scotland's health secretary follows a call by
Britain's Royal College of Nursing in April for cleaning services to be
brought back in-house and for the end of outsourcing. Nurses cited a drop in
standards and a rise in infections.
    "It simply isn't prudent to contract out cleaning jobs as our public
health care system fights hospital-acquired infections such as C. Difficile,"
Hurley says.
    "Let's not risk our health with for-profit cleaning and make a bad
situation worse," says Mike Tracey, President, Canadian Union of Public
Employees (CUPE) 786, St. Joseph's Hospital (Hamilton). "People in the UK are
making the link between for-profit cleaning and dirtier hospitals. Why can't
    Andrea Horwath, NDP MPP for Hamilton Centre, called on the McGuinty
government to intervene wherever hospitals try to outsource cleaning jobs.
Horwath noted the McGuinty government, through its "Local Health Integration
Networks" (LHINs), is not funding hospitals adequately, forcing many to
consider contract out cleaning, despite escalated risk from infections.
    "Many of our hospitals are carrying fake deficits, created by the LHINs
and used to justify service cuts and outsourcing," says Horwath. "This is
wrong. Let's get our hospitals the resources they need. And let's follow the
example of our colleagues in the UK and stop contracting out our health."

    Click here for more on the Scottish fight against hospital infections and
comments by the Scottish health minister or visit:

For further information:

For further information: David Robbins, CUPE Communications, cell (613)

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