CUPE decries province’s hospital cuts

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submitted by Canadian Union of Public Employees

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the longstanding capacity issues in Ontario’s hospital system created by successive provincial governments’ under-funding hospital care and cutting 20,000 beds. But under the Progressive Conservative’s health funding plan laid out in its March budget, things are going to get much worse, says a Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) research paper, Ontario Hospital Crisis: Overcapacity and Under Threat. The research report was released on April 26th.

The report projects staff and funding cuts for eastern Ontario hospitals in Quinte/Brockville, Cornwall, Ottawa, Pembroke and Kingston as examples of the depth of the cuts that are projected.

“As these ongoing cuts take hold, year after year for the next decade, Ontario’s hospitals will stagger as an aging and growing population pits far too many very sick patients against its weakening capacity, says Michael Hurley president of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE). “Patients will be at risk. There will be no surge capacity. This government has learned nothing from the COVID pandemic.”

The Ontario 2021 Budget plans to cut COVID health care funds by $3.25 billion. But, even that will be dwarfed by the cuts that will be required if the government’s funding plans are implemented from 2021-2030, according to the report that uses the government’s own data to extrapolate the projections.

The report paints a pretty bleak picture for Ontario, “in which patients get even less bedside care and are at much higher risk of hallway medicine, under-staffing, re-admissions, hospital acquired infestions and medical errors, problems that aready bedevil Ontario hospitals.”

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