Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

February 12, 2012 17:52 ET

Sudbury ground zero for health care cuts

SUDBURY, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 12, 2012) - Sudbury is ground zero for the Liberal government to put its health care 'action plan' into action. The closure of 30 beds at Memorial Hospital will thrust frail seniors with complex medical needs into a void of non-existent home care supports and a 900 person waitlist for long-term care. Hospital staff oppose this "ill-conceived action" and are holding a community rally on Monday, February 13 (11 a.m.) at Liberal MPP Rick Bartolucci's Cedar Street office to protest the bed closures.

Ontario's health minister Deb Matthews has been busy talking up the new health 'action plan' intended to lay the ground for a fresh round of cost-cutting hospital and health service restructuring. The cornerstone of the plan is keeping people out of hospital and out of long-term care, and in their homes with a few hours of home care. But provincially there are currently about 10,000 people waiting for home care services. Another 26,000 are on waitlists for long-term care.

"These cuts will make those problems worse. As cover for the coming cuts, the government is pretending that its home care strategy can handle these problems," says Dave Shelefontiuk, the president the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 1623, which represents the majority of the registered practical nurses and personal support workers affected by the Memorial bed closures.

Matthews' action plan promises to add home care hours over a period of several years as more hospital care is cut.

There are already hundreds of people in Sudbury with complex medical needs, "Many of them vulnerable seniors who are suffering, alone at home because there are no home care services in place and not enough nursing home beds. Closing the Memorial beds means more people will suffer," says Shelefontiuk.

The rally Monday is outside Bartolucci's constituency office because, says Shelefontiuk, the Liberal MPP has been absent in advocating for adequate health care funding for Sudbury. A second rally is being planned for early March.

"It's disingenuous for the health minister and our local MPP to pretend that a few more home care hours will offset and justify the cuts in other health care and hospital services. All this is just smoke and mirrors. There are no options in the community for the people forced out of Memorial to access," says Shelefontiuk.

Contact Information

  • Dave Shelefontiuk
    President, CUPE 1623
    (705) 929 8457

    Stella Yeadon
    CUPE Communications
    (416) 559-9300