Today the Council of Canadians joined our allies from the Ontario Health Coalition as they delivered the results of a grassroots referendum on stopping hospital cuts in communities across Ontario. Over a thousand volunteers from across the province, including many Council of Canadians members and chapters, volunteered their time and energy to make the referendum possible. were asked to vote yes or no as to whether Ontario’s government should stop the cuts to community hospitals and restore services to meet the population need for care.
Over 94,000 Ontarians voted to stop the cuts and restore public hospital funding to the average of the other provinces. Further, an astounding 99.6% of the almost 100,000 people who voted told the government to stop the devastating cuts.
Public hospitals are being dismantled across Ontario and communities are, “losing vital services and across the province whole categories of services are being privatized… Every service that is being cut is privatized, moved out of town or lost entirely. Patients are now required to drive longer and longer distances for care, or are being charged hundreds or even thousands of dollars in private clinics for cataract surgeries, colonoscopies and other care than used to be provided – under OHIP – in our local public hospitals. People are waiting on stretchers, in the worst cases for days, for admission to hospitals that are filled to overcapacity.”
The referendum is a clear message to Premier Wynne that people are fed up with the loss of: hospital beds, emergency departments, birthing and surgical units, palliative care and many other services; hundreds of nursing positions, along with the thousands of hours/year of hands-on care that they provide to patients; and the privatization of laboratories, diagnostics, outpatient clinics and vital housekeeping and clerical support services. Overall, Ontario’s hospital funding is at or near the very bottom of all the provinces in Canada. Worse, while local public hospitals are being cut across the province, the services are not being replaced by community care (despite the government’s claims). It is time for the Ontario government to do the right thing and stop the devastating local hospital cuts.
A small sample of the devastating hospital cuts:
Hamilton Health Sciences Centre:
– 100 full-time jobs to be cut to address $30 million shortfall.
– Closure of entire hospital site proposed within next 10 years.
Welland County General Hospital:
– Closure of entire hospital threatened.
St. Catharines Hospital:
– Closure of operating rooms for six weeks to address budget deficit.
Greater Niagara General Hospital:
– Plan approved to close hospital.
London Health Sciences Centre:
– 500 surgeries – 1 in 20 – delayed at University and Victoria hospitals from January to March.
– $32 million in cuts planned.
– 354 positions cut;
– dozens of beds eliminated between 2013-2016.
– $5 million cut from budget. Closure of Mental Health Rehabilitation Unit announced.
– 60 beds closed.
– 8 surgical beds and 8 medical beds to be cut.
– 158 full-time equivalent positions cut.
The Ottawa Hospital:
– $26 million in cuts including 35 full-time positions to be eliminated in first round of cuts.
– Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) – 20% reduction in funding for Toronto Drug Treatment Court Services.
– Humber River Regional Hospital – Keele and Church sites closed. Finch site turned into an “urgent care centre”.
Source: Ontario Hospital Coalition