Staff fear deep cuts will be recommended to hospital budget by peer review

PETERBOROUGH, ON, Dec. 30 /CNW/ - CUPE warned today that the Central East LHIN decision to send in a Peer Review Team to assess the hospital's operations will mean deep cuts in service at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC).

Karen Ward, president of CUPE local 1943, which represents 540 registered practical nurses, tradespersons, cleaners, dietary and support staff at PRHC said "that the Financial Performance Improvement Plan spells bad news for the community".

"The funding formula for St. Joseph's and Peterborough Civic hospitals was lower than many of their peer hospitals, said Ms. Ward. "The new Peterborough Regional Health Centre is still crippled by this history of chronic underfunding. Peterborough Regional Health Centre's deficits are worsened by the move into a new facility, the consolidation of services into the hospital from surrounding communities and the increased utilization of the hospital by a growing and aging population".

OCHU Central Ontario Vice-president Diane Crough warned " peer review is the last step before the province steps in and takes over the hospital's operation. Recommendations of the peer review committee are made without disclosure of meaningful financial information or consultation with the public. We are calling on Mr. Jeff Leal, MPP, to help open up this secretive process to public input."

Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) estimated that " eliminating the $39,000,000 deficits for PRHC for 2009 and 2010 could involve the loss of approximately 385 jobs. And each job takes with it substantial hospital services to the people served by the Peterborough Regional Hospital". Approximately 75% of every dollar spent on Ontario's hospitals goes to staff salaries.

Ms. Ward announced that CUPE Local 1943 will be spearheading a postcard campaign directed at Mr. Leal, urging him to provide leadership by defending the hospital."

SOURCE Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (CUPE)

For further information: For further information: Karen Ward, President, CUPE Local 1943: (705) 742-5326; Diane Crough, Vice-president, Central Ontario, OCHU: (705) 745-3511; Michael Hurley, President, OCHU: (416) 884-0770

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