For nearly 10 years the Ontario Liberals have touted their plan to cut hospital care in an effort to contain health spending. A poll that probes just how much support among the Kingston community there is for provincial government health reforms will be released Tuesday September 20, 2016 at 10 a.m., park side opposite the King Street emergency entrance to Kingston General Hospital (KGH).

The poll asked over 700 respondents about how important local hospitals are to them, their family and the community, how often they accessed hospital and emergency care, and whether they or a family member have been admitted to hospital. Respondents’ attitudes on hospital cuts, closing a hospital and private out of hospital clinics, were also probed.

Research shows that Ontario’s hospital cuts are the deepest in the country and that provincial funding for hospitals is among the lowest of the provinces. Despite claims by the provincial Liberal government, services that are being eliminated at local public hospitals, are not replaced with home and community care. “Those most affected by these care cuts are the elderly with multiple chronic conditions,” says Michael Hurley the president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE).

According the government’s own data, Kingston and south eastern Ontario have a high proportion of seniors. The area population also has high rates of heart disease and arthritis/rheumatism – two diseases closely associated with age.

“We’re concerned that the proposed merger of KGH and Hotel Dieu Hospital is just cover for more patient care and bed and program cuts,” says Mike Rodrigues the president of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 1974. The poll, Rodrigues adds, “took the pulse of hundreds of people in our community and I can tell you there is little appetite for more hospital cuts. People are paying attention.”