TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 22, 2016) - The appointment of a provincial supervisor for Brockville General Hospital (BGH), a Mike Harris strong-arm tactic that the Ontario Liberals once railed against, is a "surface distraction from the real problem; provincial underfunding of our hospitals, including BGH, that is causing deficits," the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) charged today.
Reports suggest that the hospital borrowed $5 million in addition to a $4 million deficit.
"Suggesting that mismanagement is at the root of the hospital's deficit deflects blame from the culprit, a provincial government intent on starving hospitals of the funding they need to provide adequate patient care. Putting the hospital under administration is an optics exercise to distract from the significant provincial funding shortfall," says Michael Hurley, president of CUPE's Ontario Council of Hospital Unions. CUPE represents several hundred BGH front line staff.
Ontario is among Canada's lowest provincial funders for hospital care. Based on the latest figures from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), Ontario government funding for hospitals is $1,395.73 per capita. The rest of Canada, excluding Ontario, spends $1,749.69 per capita. In other words, provincial and territorial governments outside of Ontario spend $353.96 more per person on hospitals than Ontario does. That is a whopping 25.3 per cent more than Ontario.
"BGH is not alone in racking up a deficit. Every hospital in Ontario is struggling because hospital funding is far too low," says Hurley.
Research done by CUPE has found that average Ontario hospital funding for the population the size of Brockville in 2005/6 would have been about $1.04 million less than average funding for the same population outside of Ontario. But by 2015/16 the funding shortfall for a population the size of the City of Brockville would have exploded to $7.74 million.
"$7.74 million a year for the Brockville hospital would have them operating solidly in the black. This hospital is struggling valiantly to provide services through eight consecutive years of provincial funding cutbacks. The solution here isn't a supervisor and more cuts to care, staff and programs but to increase this hospital's funding," says Hurley.