Hospital Underfunding Threatens Jobs and Patient Care in Ontario, Unions Say

January 12, 2009, 2:45 PM EST

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Large scale hospital job losses and serious cut backs in patient care are looming in Ontario if the provincial government continues to refuse to deal with the underfunding of hospitlas, major hospital unions, including the CAW say.

Leadership from the CAW along with CUPE, SEIU and OPSEU held a joint press conference January 12 warning that underfunding could result in a cutback of 5,000 full-time jobs and more than 9 million hours of patient care.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty must take a serious look at the impact of planned underfunding, union representatives warned.

"Ontario is already staggering under the impact of the manufacturing job losses and the recession," said CAW President Ken Lewenza. "In hard economic times, workers who have lost their jobs lose health care benefits as well, and the need for hospital services is all the more pressing. This is not the time for the provincial government to contemplate large-scale hospital cuts and restructuring."

"Hospital downsizing is already resulting in longer waits for patients, user fees for patients and loss of services," said Patty Rout, OPSEU vice-president and treasurer.

The four unions represent more than 80,000 hospital staff in Ontario.

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