Summit on Ontario Hospital Restructuring

February 6, 2009, 11:42 AM EST


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More than 150 delegates from across Ontario, including more than 20 CAW delegates, recently took part in a summit aimed at developing a joint campaign to fight hospital cuts.

Delegates representing CAW retirees and retirees executives, CAW staff representatives and CAW Locals 27, 1106, 2458, 229, 1120, 199, 302 and 89 attended the two-day event in Toronto.

Planned under-funding of hospitals by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care will result in more than $350 million in deficits next year, CAW Health Care Director Katha Fortier reports.

"The Ministry is offering no relief, and these combined deficits will see hospital services disappear along with as many as 5000 health care workers jobs, if we do nothing," Fortier said.

Under the guise of Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN's) the ministry is planning closures of small rural hospitals ER departments with the eventual closure of some hospitals altogether.

Janice Pettalia, President of CAW Local 1120 in Sault Ste. Marie said CAW members who work in rural hospitals know that closing their ERs could result in preventable deaths. "This is something we all need to fight back on regardless of where you live because the closure of any ER will result in more pressure on those remaining open."

CAW Retiree Executive Board Member and Local 229 Board Member Marg Arnone said the promised solutions are simply not materializing. "Care in our long term care homes is inadequate because the ministry is refusing to implement minimum standards, and there are no where near enough beds. Added to that, the ministry's solution of putting hospital patients into unregulated for-profit retirement homes is putting seniors at risk and is just not acceptable."

Material for the hospital fight back campaign is available through the Ontario Health Coalition at: www.web.net/ohc/ All CAW locals are encouraged to participate.

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