Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU)

Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU)

July 06, 2015 11:35 ET

North Bay-Media Advisory: Northern Ontario faces harshest cuts to patient care; finds hotline report check-in

NORTH BAY, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 6, 2015) - The authors of a study that chronicled the experiences of hundreds of patients and their families with Ontario's health system, are back in North Bay this week to provide an update on how northern patients are faring, following three straight years of provincial hospital cuts.

A media conference is scheduled in North Bay for Wednesday, July 8, 2015 at 10 a.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion, 150 First Ave West.

"Northern Ontario is harshly affected by hospital cutbacks, exacerbated by the challenges of geography and by poverty and underemployment," says Michael Hurley, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) president. He will be speaking at Wednesday's media conference along with Sharon Richer, a front-line northern Ontario hospital worker.

Compared to the rest of the province, northeastern Ontario also has a higher percentage of people with multiple chronic conditions, adults who are overweight or obese, smokers and heavy drinkers.

Since the report Pushed Out of Northern Hospitals, Abandoned at Home: After Twenty Years of Budget Cuts, Ontario's Health System is Failing Patients, was released in North Bay the winter of 2014, the regional hospital has cut nearly $50 million from patient care and closed dozens of hospital beds and programs.

A key finding of the report is that, provincial cuts to hospital care, are particularly hurting the elderly.

"For us living in the northeast, where our population is older than the provincial average, knowing that provincial health reforms are disproportionately affecting seniors, is very alarming," says Richer.

In the northeast 19% of people are aged 65+ as compared to 15% for Ontario. The number of seniors in the northeast is expected to rise. Within the next 10 years, it's projected that one in every four residents in northeastern Ontario will be aged 65 or older.

Contact Information

  • Michael Hurley
    Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU)

    Sharon Richer
    OCHU, Regional Vice-President