Staff rally for province to aid the Brockville General Hospital

BROCKVILLE, ON, March 29 /CNW/ - Staff will rally today to request that the Ontario government cover the operating deficit of the Brockville General Hospital. CUPE Local 5666, which is sponsoring the campaign represents 150 nurses, clerical, maintenance, cleaning, dietary and support staff at the hospital.

CUPE Local 5666 President Martha Godin explained that the rally will send the message that "the 1.5% funding increase announced in the provincial budget will mean further bed and service cutbacks in 2010. With several years of underfunding ahead, eventually only a shell of a hospital will be left in Brockville. We are in deficit because our population is aging and using our services more. We staff the most efficient hospital system in Canada, with the shortest lengths of stay and the fewest numbers of beds and staff to population of any province. We are not being funded to cover the increased use of its services. The answer is not cuts, which will make the hospital less efficient, but real funding increases."

Ontario Council of Hospital Unions Vice-president Louis Rodrigues, from Kingston, said that "there seems to be a difference in treatment between ridings held by Liberal MPPs and those of other parties. Money has been found to help with the deficits of the Royal Ottawa Hospital, Cornwall Community Hospital, Sudbury Regional Hospital and the Niagara Health System, all represented by Liberals. The needs of the citizens of Brockville are no less pressing."

Ontario Council of Hospital Unions President Michael Hurley stated that "the Liberal government is focused just on trimming hospital costs, which are up 24% since this government was elected. But in the same period doctors' costs are up 57% and drug costs are up 37%. The government is not dealing with these cost drivers, instead they are methodically dismantling the most efficient hospital system in Canada, through underfunding."

SOURCE Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (CUPE)

For further information: For further information: Martha Godin, President, CUPE Local 5666, (613) 340-4495; Louis Rodrigues, OCHU Vice-president, (613) 531-1319; Michael Hurley, President, OCHU, (416) 884-0770

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