LHSC announces major budget deficit

Officials say a ruptured pipe at the hospital's London Regional Cancer Program has forced the cancellation of all clinic appointments on Tuesday. Matthew Trevithick / Global News

The London Health Sciences Centre says it will have to significantly cut staff hours as a result of a major budget deficit.

LHSC says it ended the 2018/2019 fiscal year with a $24 million deficit and will need to find savings of approximately $28 million for 2019/2020.

The $28 million equates to two per cent of its $1.2 billion budget.

In a statement released Tuesday, the hospital said it will cut the equivalent of 165 full-time positions, or 1.6 per cent of its total workforce, through a reduction in staff hours worked. LHSC hopes to avoid job losses by implementing a temporary hiring freeze for non-clinical staff.

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The hospital will also try to mitigate losses through natural attrition, and non-union voluntary exits.

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At this time it’s not known if there will be any layoffs.

“As we look to the future and consider inflationary pressures, our current fiscal performance, and our strategic investment plan, I am confident that the savings strategies we are implementing will ensure we continue to deliver excellent patient care and maintain financial sustainability”, said Dr. Paul Woods, President and CEO, London Health Sciences Centre, in a statement.

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While hospitals did receive an extra 2.05 per cent, or $384 million, in the most recent provincial budget it was less than the 3.45 per cent the Ontario Hospital Association was necessary to deal with current hospital needs.

Woods says all departments in the hospital have been asked to find savings 2.0 to 2.5% of their budget.

“This budget will also help align our efforts to support the government’s health-care transformation as we seek to partner with other providers in the health system to meet the care needs of those in our community and region,” said Woods.

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