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OTTAWA, Ont. – Patient care and safety at the Ottawa Hospital is being put at risk by further cuts, but a knee-jerk response from the hospital’s administrators is making a bad situation worse, charge staff representatives at the hospital.

The hospital’s CEO openly states that there is growing need for hospital services in the community, “yet the hospital is again prepared to make new cuts and to undermine patient care by refusing to stand up to the province’s zero-increase in funding for hospitals,” said Rob Driskell, president of Local 4000 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

In a bulletin dated December 2, Ottawa Hospital CEO Dr. Jack Kitts wrote that the hospital services faced “unprecedented activity and patient volumes, as well as other unplanned budget pressures” and announced that the hospital will cut jobs to balance its budget by year’s end.

“So in the face of growing demand for services, the Ottawa Hospital decides to cut more jobs? This is on top of 80 jobs already eliminated this year and 290 last year,” said Driskell.

“This sort of action defies logic. Instead of adding jobs and services to care for greater numbers of patients, the hospital’s administrators cut them in the face of increasing demand.

“Patients and their families will notice when there are fewer orderlies and patients spend longer periods lying in corridors; when there are fewer registered practical nurses to provide bedside care; and fewer registration clerks mean longer admitting processes.”

Because of the new cuts, patients can also expect longer waits for diagnostic imaging, medical transcriptions, physiotherapy and other services, he added.

Eastern Ontario hospitals have suffered some of the province’s deepest cuts, resulting in services cutbacks, bed closures and job losses. The cuts have also affected home care, with 1,000 people recently denied assistance by the Champlain Community Care Access Centre.

Before consigning Ottawa Hospital patients to poorer care, the hospital must stand up to the province and demand that MPPs reverse the cuts and increase spending to hospitals and health care, urged Driskell.

“If the hospital’s leaders won’t join us in calling for an end to this untenable funding situation, then we will be seeking public support so that we can provide our fellow citizens with the high-quality hospital care they deserve,” he concluded.

Driskell is also seeking a meeting with the hospital’s administrators, including Dr. Jack Kitts, to discuss alternatives to cuts to jobs and services at the Ottawa Hospital.

For more information:
Rob Driskell, President, CUPE Local 4000: 613-859-3366 (cell)
Mary Unan, CUPE Communications: 905-739-3999 ext. 240 or 647-390-9839 (cell)