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TORONTO – Frank Dobson, former Health Minister of the British Government and MP is warning the public about market based health care called “Patient Focus Funding”. Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE) and Natalie Mehra of the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC), joined him today at a news conference today in Toronto.

In Britain, private providers were charging on average 11 per cent more per operation than the National Health Service (NHS), but were collecting 100 per cent of the pay for doing 85 per cent of the operation. The government told us it would cost less. In fact, with its limited list of elective operation on contract, they took the easy, straightforward, less risky operations… leaving the most complex and expensive operations and treatment to NHS hospitals,” said Dobson.

Mehra told the audience that, “Ontario hospital boards are joining the competition in which hospitals across Ontario compete to reduce patients’ length of stay (how quickly a hospital can force a patient out), reduce staffing, and reduce beds. As everyone tries to get into the top (read: cheapest) quartile, access to care and quality of care declines. There is no proposed end to this competition with many bad consequences for patients including reduction of staff.”

Hurley reiterated that, “This Liberal government has introduced tender call and biddings in the health sector. We have to remember that after it was introduced in the United Kingdom it was followed by closures in small community hospitals because they could not compete to deliver services and public hospitals went bankrupt as they lost bids to deliver clinical services.”

The Ontario Health Coalition, OCHU and CUPE are campaigning against privatization of hospital care in Ontario. They are calling on the McGuinty government to state publicly that they will stop their privatization policy by the back door.

For more information, contact:

Michel Hurley
President of OCHU
Tel: 416-884-0770

Natalie Mehra
Ontario Health Coalition:
Cell: 416-230-6402

Christian Martel
CUPE Communications
Tel: 416-292-3999 ext. 213