Ontario Health Coalition

Ontario Health Coalition

June 11, 2015 10:06 ET

Media Advisory: Hundreds to Converge in Ottawa to Protest Hospital Cuts, Closures & the Privatization of Hospital/Home Care Services

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 11, 2015) - Ottawa is facing among the worst hospital cuts of anywhere in the province, and is now ground zero for cuts. This Friday, hundreds are expected to converge in Ottawa with a strong message for Ontario's provincial government to stop the hospital funding freeze. To date, only the hospitals have responded to the public's concerns about the cuts - they, however, are required by law to follow the communications line set out for them - it is the real decision-makers in the provincial government that must answer for their decisions to cut hospitals.

We are in the fourth year in a row of a 0% funding increase for hospital global budgets. In real-dollar terms (inflation-adjusted dollars) this is more than a 10% cut. The gap between funding received and the cost to provide care is getting bigger every year and Ottawa's hospitals are struggling to maintain the levels of services they provide from one year to the next.

Since 2012, 233 nurses have been cut at the Ottawa Hospital in departments such as oncology, dialysis, geriatrics, transitional care, obstetrics, infection control, endoscopy, birthing, intensive care, and neurosurgery. Physiotherapy, nutrition, social work and support services have also been cut. In March of this year the hospital announced that 35 more nurses, health professionals, and support staff are on the chopping block as the hospital is forced to cut $26 million. Just last week, the hospital announced that it will be cutting a further 87 full-time equivalent positions including nurses, health professionals and administrative and support staff. More than 1000 front-line care workers have been cut in the past three and a half years. At the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, 41 nursing positions have been cut in ambulatory care, the neonatal intensive care unit, perioperative surgery and in-patient care facilitators. 18 positions are slated to be cut this year at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, eliminating 36,000 hours of patient care and support. All of Ottawa's large hospitals are running at dangerous levels of overcrowding, emergency rooms are back-logged, and patients are waiting on stretchers in hallways.

Visual: Hundreds of red balloons will be signed with messages directed at Cabinet Minister Bob Chiarelli and the Liberal government. There will be hundreds in attendance with banners, signs and noisemakers. There will be a parade of cuts, where all the hospital cuts in Ottawa and the surrounding region will be displayed visually in a procession.

What: Ottawa Region Day of Action to Stop Hospital Cuts and Hospital & Home Care Privatization.

When & Where: Friday June 12, 12 p.m., Rally at Cabinet Minister Bob Chiarelli's constituency office - 201-2249 Carling Ave., Ottawa. (Carling & Woodroffe).

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