July 13, 2018 10:16 am
Updated: July 13, 2018 3:46 pm

CUPE warns of bed loses, job cuts at Peterborough hospital if Ford follows through on campaign promises


The hospital division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees says planned tax cuts by the province will mean the loss of jobs and beds at Peterborough Regional Health Centre.

At a press conference on Friday morning, the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions — the hospital division of CUPE — released a report called “Hallway Medicine: It Can Be Fixed.”

READ MORE: Peterborough and Lindsay hospitals propose integration into single hospital network

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The report looks at the implications of Premier Doug Ford’s campaign promises of a $7-billion tax plan, a balanced budget commitment and a four per cent public service “efficiency program.”

The OCHU says the result would see the Peterborough hospital lose 34 to 51 more beds and between 75 and 163 jobs.

“We can end hallway medicine by making investments to meet the needs of an aging and growing population,” said OCHU president Michael Hurley.

“These additional investments are not permanent, but they are needed for the life of the baby-boom generation. Peterborough’s hospital, already dealing with overcapacity and years of underfunding, will not be able to maintain the quality of patient care in the face of demographic pressures without these investments.”

The report says that in order for the province to meet a balanced budget, the government would have to cut 3,712 hospital beds and 16,418 hospital jobs province-wide.

READ MORE: Province provides nearly $7M to tackle wait times at Peterborough Regional Health Centre

“Ontario patients, forced to spend days in hallways on gurneys and sent home while still acutely ill, are symptoms of ongoing hospital budget cuts and the elimination of 18,000 beds,” the OCHU stated. “Hospitals have been funded below their real costs for over a decade and their capacity has collapsed as a result.”

The report makes several recommendations to end “hallway medicine,” including funding hospitals at their actual costs; opening acute, complex continuing care and long-term care beds to deal with overcrowding; investing in mental health and addictions; and stepping away from restructuring and privatization.

“There is more than enough evidence in Ontario that hospital restructuring and privatization has wasted billions of scarce dollars over the last decade,” Hurley says.

CHEX News has reached out to Peterborough Regional Health Centre for comment. As of 5 p.m., the hospital had not returned requests an interview.

More to come.

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