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Toronto The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE) and the Ontario Health Coalition released a video at Queens Park today, documenting the disastrous British experience of private finance initiative (PFI) hospitals.

Tony Clement has extolled the virtues of British P3 hospitals, and has imported that model here to Ontario in at least four communities, said Michael Hurley, OCHU president. He went to Britain in 2001 and was apparently dazzled by what he saw, so we followed him there to see whether those hospitals really do work. What we found is that they have been a disaster for the National Health Service (NHS) and for the British people. These hospitals have seen a 30% reduction in beds and clinical staff. There is no doubt that if the SARS crisis had unfolded there instead of here, those P3 hospitals would have had no capacity to handle it.

OCHU interviewed a number of British doctors, policy analysts, economists and health care workers for this video, which details corrupt land deals, loss of staff and beds, hospital wards repeatedly closing due to infection, and a host of infrastructural problems, including ceilings caving in over maternity wards.

In one example, the Edinburgh P3 hospital is located over an abandoned mine because the private company who built it used the downtown public lands for luxury condos instead. As one hospital worker in the video describes, when it rains, rats come out of the abandoned mine shafts onto hospital grounds.

This is what Tony Clement and the Tories are trying to ram through here the proposed Uxbridge P3 hospital site is on swamp land, said Natalie Mehra of the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC). And Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals have not joined the fight to stop these P3 hospitals they say they oppose them in theory, but they stop short of promising to scrap them if elected. This video shows unequivocally that these deals are not cheaper, they do not provide better health care, and if they are not stopped in Ontario we will be looking at widespread hospital privatization.

Copies of the video are available in VHS and Beta format.

The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE represents 21,000 frontline health care workers in Ontario. The Ontario Health Coalition is an umbrella group representing more than 300 member organizations across the province.


For more information:
Michael Hurley, OCHU, 416-884-0770 (cell)
Natalie Mehra, Ontario Health Coalition, 416-441-2502 (office) or 416-230-6402 (cell)
Alison Fisher, OCHU office, 416-599-0770, ext. 22
Andrea Addario, CUPE Communications, 416-292-3999 (office) or 416-738-4329 (cell)