Pembroke, Ont. - Pembroke residents have clear and definitive opinions on the Pembroke General Hospital’s outsourcing of surgical equipment sterilization, a poll conducted last weekend shows. 74 per cent said they want the hospital to reconsider its decision to contract out sterilization of surgical instruments to SteriPro, a Toronto area company.

“It’s clear that many people knew something about the issue. They are informed and engaged. It’s very telling how definitive their opinions are about both the hospital’s decision to take jobs out of the community and what they want the hospital to do about it now. The community is not on board with the hospital decision,” said Michael Hurley president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU). OCHU commissioned the poll along with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

The poll provided the 420 respondents some context, but “purposely, not too much information,” said Hurley at a media conference in Pembroke today.

Some of the information provided included that Trillium Health Partners, a 1250 bed hospital in Toronto ended its 10-year contract with SteriPro after just 4 years due to concerns about the quality of instrument sterilization.

When asked if the Pembroke General Hospital made the right decision to enter into a long contract with the same company for its surgical equipment sterilization, nearly 88 per cent of respondents say no.

Under the multi-year contract, Pembroke Regional Hospital’s surgical instruments are shipped 820 km round-trip. Poll participants were asked whether they thought this was the best option. More than 89 per cent of them say no.

A whopping 95 per cent say they think that the hospital has an obligation to keep work in Pembroke whenever possible.

Another important finding is that the majority (nearly 76 per cent) of respondents are female, said Helen Fetterly OCHU Secretary-Treasurer.

“Women are the ones who are the health care decision-makers for their families and their aging parents. They are also the biggest volunteer base. The poll shows that this group (women) are not only interested in the issue, since they make up the majority of the respondents, but that they do not support the hospital’s decision whatsoever. Like the majority of respondents, we again ask the hospital to not go through with this deal,” says Fetterly.

For more information, please contact:

Michael Hurley
President OCHU/CUPE

Stella Yeadon
CUPE Communications