Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

July 16, 2008 10:09 ET

OPSEU: Kincardine Residents Must Pay for Previously Covered Outpatient Hospital Physiotherapy Services

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 16, 2008) - A private for-profit physiotherapy company is moving into the Kincardine Hospital, charging for outpatient services that used to be publicly-funded.

PT Health will displace the hospital's former physiotherapy department in August. While the hospital will contract PT Health for inpatient services, outpatients must have the means to pay for their physiotherapy or drive at least 45 minutes to another site of South Bruce Grey Health Centre.

"If you are recovering from hip or knee surgery, or are rehabilitating a rotator cuff injury, it's wrong for the Kincardine hospital to force you to choose between paying out of pocket or driving to Chesley or Walkerton," says Patty Rout, 1st Vice-President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. "Many of the existing patients at the hospital are there because they do not have private insurance. Without the means to travel, this may leave many without the health care they need."

The fate of the physiotherapy department's equipment is also unclear, given much of it was purchased through donations from the community.

Whether the equipment is part of PT Health's lease, is sold, or placed in storage, the union is concerned this sends a negative message to the community about the value of contributing to their local hospital.

OPSEU members who work at the physiotherapy department will be transferred in August to other sites of South Bruce Grey Health Centre.

"This is just one more example of creeping privatization in our health care system," says Rout. "Today this is taking place in Kincardine. Who's to say that next year they won't be doing the same to other sites of the SBGHC?"

OPSEU is urging the South West Local Health Integration Network to intervene and stop the loss of publicly-provided physiotherapy services in the area.

Contact Information

    Rick Janson
    (416) 443-8888 ext 8383