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If at least one Toronto hospital is trying to get out of its contract with the company that sterilizes its surgical instruments over quality issues, has Pembroke Regional Hospital really done its due diligence in entering into a similar contract? CUPE asked today.

“Unfortunately, the experience with this company is concerning, with blood and bone matter returning on instruments to at least one major hospital they serve. Quality issues may lead to the end of that contractual relationship. Today, we are asking whether the Pembroke Regional Hospital has actually done a thorough and comprehensive investigation of the performance of this provider and of the risks, including talking with other hospitals with similar contracts. We are afraid that the answer to that question may be no,” says Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE.

CUPE 1502, which represents staff at the hospital, have asked the hospital Board of Directors for a meeting to discuss the bed and staff cutbacks and the sterilization of surgical instruments. On Wednesday, October 21, 2015 – 10:00 a.m., CUPE 1502 will hold a media conference at 380 Isabella Street, Pembroke, to outline their significant concerns with the outsourcing and cuts.

“We think they need to take a second, sober look at this proposal to contract out sterilization,” says Cynthia Schulz, CUPE 1502 president. One emerging concern we have is the huge expenditure the hospital must now make on surgical trays and equipment to use this contractor.”

Pembroke Regional Hospital closed five medical and two pediatric beds due to a budget deficit earlier this year. Ontario has frozen hospital funding for four years. Estimates cited by the Auditor General calculate that hospitals need a 5.8 per cent increase annually to meet their basic costs. As a result, the Pembroke Regional Hospital has suffered a budget cut in real terms of more than 20 per cent.

Ontario spends the least on its public hospitals of any province in Canada and has the fewest beds to population of any province, or of any country with a developed economy in the world.

For further information, please contact:

Cindy Schulz
President, CUPE 1502

Michael Hurley
President, Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE (OCHU)

Stella Yeadon
CUPE Communications