March 30, 2017 10:15 ET
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 30, 2017) - It's unfair of Ontario opposition MPP's to blame significant care and staffing cuts at our hospitals on high hydro rates, says the president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU)/CUPE.
"To suggest that the root of our community hospitals' yearly budget deficits and the staff, bed and care cuts that follow, is high hydro costs is to mislead the public. Ontario's hospitals have endured 8 years of real budget cuts. Hospitals are being funded this year again by significantly less than the increase in their real costs. This is their real problem, one that can't be solved by tweaking hydro costs," says OCHU president Michael Hurley.
The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) says that Ontario funding for hospitals has fallen $4.5 billion behind hospital funding in other provinces. The OHA has asked the province to increase funding in 2017 by 4.9 per cent.
Ontario's Financial Accountability Office estimates health care needs about a 5.3 per cent annual increase to meet basic cost pressures. Health care costs are driven higher than consumer inflation by ageing, population growth, and utilization, as well as by cost increases for drugs and medical technologies.
OCHU is calling for at least a 5 per cent provincial funding increase for hospitals in 2017.
Speculation is that Ontario's budget will be delivered sometime in early April.
"Communities know where the Liberals stand on hospital funding, but where do the PCs and the NDP stand? It would appear from their public comments that hospitals could expect relief in their relatively small hydro budgets and no relief on their larger underfunding problem," says Hurley. In addition, "both parties have said nothing about the fact that in North Bay the hospital is a private-public partnership with significantly higher costs to maintain its infrastructure. There are another 20 or so of these projects in development. Do the PCs and the NDP support additional funding to hospitals to cover their higher infrastructure costs?"
Michael HurleyPresident, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE)416-884-0770Stella YeadonCanadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Communications416-559-9300
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