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Hospital Professionals Bring Warning: Devastating Hospital Cuts in Ottawa and Region are Leading to Privatization and Worse Care

(Ottawa, ON) – The union representing health care professionals is warning that draconian funding cuts to Ottawa and area hospital services are resulting in health care privatization and poorer quality of care. Because of real-dollar hospital funding cuts by the provincial government, Ottawa has suffered major cuts to seniors’ and palliative care, children’s services, and diagnostics and treatment, said the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. The health professionals warn that these cuts will cause delays in diagnosis and treatment, resulting in privatization and two-tier health care.

“The cuts are pervasive and affect every aspect of health care in the city,” said Marlene Rivier, a psychiatric nurse, President of OPSEU Local 479 at the Royal Ottawa Hospital and chair of the Ottawa Health Coalition. “Ottawa’s hospitals are already operating at dangerous levels of overcrowding and home care has been in a constant state of crisis. It has become an issue of who to throw out of the lifeboat.”

“What’s happening to Ontario’s hospital health professionals’ services is nothing less than systematic privatization,” said Sara Labelle, Chair of OPSEU’s Hospital Professionals Division. “The hospital cuts are tantamount to delisting the care from OHIP coverage.”

The physiotherapy services that are being cut from Ottawa’s hospitals will mean that those who are wealthy will get their care immediately from private clinics, while others will be forced to wait weeks or months for treatment.

“The Wynne government has no mandate whatsoever to privatize our hospitals,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU. “Our hospitals cannot withstand further cuts and what has been cut already should be restored. The Liberal government should bring equality back to health care.”

Cuts in the Ottawa region:

Since January of this year, almost 200 full-time front-line staff have been cut at Ottawa’s hospitals, resulting in a loss of more than 340,000 hours of patient care and support. In 2013-14, 100 full-time health professionals were cut at the Ottawa Hospital. Just last week, another 32 full-time health professionals were cut at the Ottawa Hospital. Departments all across the hospital have been downsized including, Obstetrics/Maternal Fetal Medicine, Gynecology, Oncology, Menopause Clinic, Breast Feeding Clinic, Medical Clinic, Urogynecology, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Obstetrical Suite, Hemodialysis, Surgical Day Care, Physiotherapy, Nutrition, Social Work and Support Services. At the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, in-patient care facilitators, Ambulatory Care and Perioperative Services are facing cuts. At the Royal Ottawa Hospital, nurses and personal support workers are being cut across the hospital.

For more information:
Sara Labelle, Chair Hospital Professionals Division, OPSEU, 
905-914-4037 (cell).