Hamilton, ON – Battered by years of provincial funding and care cuts and showing the obvious signs of system distress from overcapacity and not enough staff and ambulances, Hamilton hospitals announced recently that more services will be shed to balance budgets. $20 million will be cut from Hamilton Health Sciences’ (HHS) budget and may mean dozens more care staff will be eliminated in 2017. Another $7 million will be chopped from the St. Joseph’s Health Care budget.
Hamilton’s hospitals are running at dangerously high levels of overcrowding, result of years of underfunding by the Wynne government,” says Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC). “We are hearing from patients who are waiting on stretchers in hallways and suffering cancelled surgeries because of the cuts that have already occurred. This community cannot take any more cuts and we will be organizing to rise up and stop them.”
Joining Mehra for a media conference on Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at 10 a.m. at 795 King Street East, Hamilton, are Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 7800 president Dave Murphy and Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE). They will review the impact on Hamilton’s patients of Ontario’s purposeful shrinking of its hospital system and cutting beds and services, despite a growing and aging population.
With not enough hospital beds, HHS currently has occupancy rates of over 110 per cent. Last winter OCHU/CUPE called on the Ontario government to fully fund additional permanent hospital beds to deal with the consistent surge in patients.
CUPE polled people in Hamilton in January 2017 and asked them about their support for hospital cutbacks. 93 per cent opposed cuts to Hamilton hospitals. 91 per cent believed that the provincial government should increase funding for Hamilton hospitals.
OHC is the largest public interest group on health care in Ontario. It has successfully stopped the closure of hospital birthing units and emergency departments across the province and rolled back user fees for patients.
CUPE represents over 10,000 nurses, trades, administrative cleaning and support staff at hospitals in the Hamilton region.
For more information please contact:
Natalie Mehra Executive Director, Ontario Health Coalition 416-230-6402
Dave Murphy President, CUPE 7800 905-518-5218
Michael Hurley President, OCHU/CUPE 416-884-0770
Stella Yeadon CUPE Communications 416-559-9300