OSHAWA, ON – With a call for increased provincial funding for hospitals and long-term care homes, health care staff from across Ontario are rallying at Oshawa’s Lakeridge hospital on Tuesday, February 6, at 12:00 noon.
They are concerned that small, temporary funding fixes, like the announcement last week by the Liberal health minister, will do little to ease chronic Ontario hospital overcrowding, and are not enough to restore decade-long cuts to patient care, beds and staffing. The issue of funding to provide a mandated four hours of resident care each day in long-term care is also unresolved.
Tomorrow’s protest in Oshawa is the sixth provincial rally in just over a year, organized by the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU), the hospital division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Ontario.
“The recent announcement in hospital funding represents less than half-a-percent increase in overall hospital funding, and the system is put on notice that funding stops for 1,200 hospital beds in April. To offset existing hospital cost pressures, overall funding will have to increase to 5.3 per cent, and it is at 3.6 per cent with this announcement. There is no indication that the government will do that, unfortunately. So cuts and access problems will continue. It is a given that our hospital system cannot withstand the closure of hospital beds in April,” says OCHU president Michael Hurley.
Ontario hospitals need a yearly influx of a minimum 5.3 per cent funding increase to deal with inflationary costs, like rising prices for drugs and doctors’ salaries, according to the Fiscal Office of Accountability.
With an Ontario election just months away, the health policies of the two opposition parties need scrutiny, Hurley says. The Tory party program “suggests that $500 million in health care cuts are coming. Ontario’s New Democrats do not plan to fund for aging or population growth, leaving their plan for funding hospitals 2 per cent short.”
Many of those health care workers attending the rally are coming from Hamilton, Sudbury, Ottawa, Windsor, Kingston, North Bay, Peterborough, Cornwall, and the Greater Toronto Area, all areas where hospitals have been dealing with ongoing overcrowding throughout the year.
“We are rallying on behalf of our hospital patients and long-term care residents. Tomorrow’s demonstration commits to step up the pressure on all three political parties,” says Hurley
For more information, please contact:
Michael Hurley President, OCHU/CUPE 416-884-0770
Stella Yeadon CUPE Communications 416-559-9300