Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

May 14, 2008 11:50 ET

OPSEU: Services Remain Until Judicial Review Decides Whether Community Has Say in Closure of 20 Mental Health Beds at Ajax-Pickering Hospital

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 14, 2008) - The fate of 20 mental health beds at the Ajax-Pickering Hospital will be decided July 11 after parties agreed to expedite a judicial review on this issue.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union is challenging the decision made by the Central East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) to approve the closure of 20 acute care mental health beds at the Ajax-Pickering Hospital. The union is arguing the LHIN failed to fulfill the terms of its mandate by making the decision before any disclosure or public consultation on the cuts.

"This was a poor decision that will adversely affect patients in West Durham Region," said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "Had they taken the time to consult with the community, the LHIN Board would have likely come to a very different decision."

Rouge Valley Health System has said services would remain in place until the Judicial Review takes place. OPSEU had sought such assurances before withdrawing from a May 16 injunction hearing.

The hospital plans to move forward with layoff notice to health care workers despite the health minister's assurances that Rouge Valley would downsize its workforce through attrition. Should the court decide in union's favour, the layoffs could be rescinded before the five-month notice period comes to an end.

The union is challenging hospital CEO Rik Ganderton to reveal how cuts at Ajax-Pickering - followed by the opening of the same number of mental health beds in Scarborough - will save the multi-site hospital any money. The union is arguing the hospital has not looked at the full costs of the move - including severance, recruitment, and transportation of patients and their families between the two sites.

"We said two years ago that the LHINs would make people travel further to access health services," said Thomas. "At that time we were accused of fear mongering. Today we are seeing the beginnings of it played out across the province, including Ajax-Pickering. This is an issue that should be important to all Ontarians, not just those living in West Durham."

Contact Information

  • Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
    Rick Janson
    (416) 443-8888 ext. 8383