St. Thomas community to rally for hospital services on Monday

ST. THOMAS, ON, March 26 /CNW/ - Facing cuts to diagnostic imaging and outpatient lab services, a rally will be held to save hospital services at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital on Monday, March 29 from 11:30 am to 1 pm.

Supported by locals of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, the Canadian Auto Workers Union, and the Ontario Nurses Association, the rally will feature a number of speakers including Natalie Mehra, Director of the Ontario Health Coalition; Patty Rout, OPSEU 1st Vice-President, Dave Kerr, St. Thomas and District Labour Council, and other local labour and community representatives.

With a new funding formula announced this spring, there is growing concern that smaller hospitals will not be able to compete with larger hospitals to maintain existing hospital procedures.

"The government is offering a false choice between quality and local care," says OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "With St. Thomas being situated within half an hour of London, this community should be very concerned about what the hospital will be able to offer in the near future."

There are additional concerns that the priorities of STEGH are also misplaced. At a time of cuts to front line services, the hospital is spending $550,000 on a biometric monitoring system to track their employees for a number of purposes, including payroll and scheduling.

While the hospital has imposed a hiring freeze on front-line professionals, it has also continued to hire more managers in the hospital.

This is at a time when eight out of ten quality indicators posted on their web site have not hit their target, including patient satisfaction, sick time and alternate level of care occupancy rates.

SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

For further information: For further information: Rick Janson at (416) 525-3324

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