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TORONTO – The Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs), quietly launched this week by the Ontario health minister, are a well-conceived scheme to consolidate, cut and, eventually, privatize health care support services, say two unions in possession of an internal hospital document calling for “consolidated support services within each LHIN” that backs their claim.

LHINs are a new level of bureaucracy in the health care system that will integrate, manage, and fund local health services in their defined regions. The creation of this kind of umbrella body will make it easier for services, such as administrative, dietary, housekeeping, pharmaceutical and diagnostic, to be consolidated, rationed and eventually privatized within the new health network, says Ontario Council of Hospital Union (OCHU/CUPE) president Michael Hurley.

It’s no secret that the government wants broad integration of health care support services. The LHINs are the vehicle for forcing consolidation to happen. While there is no evidence that integrating services will be more cost effective, there is plenty of evidence that shows that consolidating services, such as hospital food preparation in a factory miles away from the hospital, seriously impacts on the quality of the food and, ultimately, on direct patient care,” says Hurley.

An internal hospital document acquired by OCHU and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1.on, backs up the assertion that LHINs will be used to consolidate support services, says SEIU Local 1 on president Sharleen Stewart.

The document reveals that the influential Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario (CAHO) is “on the same page as the health ministry when it comes to integrating health support services. They even go one step further suggesting ‘appropriate financial incentives that align governance, management and providers to achieve shared objectives’, and a ‘transformation of health human resources’,” says Stewart.


For more information, please contact:
Michael Hurley, President, OCHU/CUPE
(416) 884-0770
Sharleen Stewart, President, SEIU Local 1 on
(416) 565-4299
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications
(416) 578-8774
John Van Beek, SEIU Communications
(905) 660-1800 ext. 319