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Toronto – The Ontario government should look to the example of the Scottish health minister and British nurses in the fight against infections like C. difficile, health care workers said today.

Two days ago, Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon pledged to reduce hospital infections by, in part, bringing cleaning services back in-house and stopping the outsourcing of cleaning jobs,” says Michael Hurley, President, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE).  “These are the kind of steps we need to take here in Ontario if we want to safeguard health and defeat hospital infections.”

Sunday’s pledge from Scotland’s health secretary follows a call by Britain’s Royal College of Nursing in April for cleaning services to be brought back in-house and for the end of outsourcing.  Nurses cited a drop in standards and a rise in infections.

It simply isn’t prudent to contract out cleaning jobs as our public health care system fights hospital-acquired infections such as C. Difficile,” Hurley says. 

Let’s not risk our health with for-profit cleaning and make a bad situation worse,” says Mike Tracey, President, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 786, St. Joseph’s Hospital (Hamilton).   “People in the UK are making the link between for-profit cleaning and dirtier hospitals.  Why can’t Ontario?”

Andrea Horwath, NDP MPP for Hamilton Centre, called on the McGuinty government to intervene wherever hospitals try to outsource cleaning jobs.  Horwath noted the McGuinty government, through its “Local Health Integration Networks” (LHINs), is not funding hospitals adequately, forcing many to consider contract out cleaning, despite escalated risk from infections. 

Many of our hospitals are carrying fake deficits, created by the LHINs and used to justify service cuts and outsourcing,” says Horwath.  “This is wrong.  Let’s get our hospitals the resources they need.  And let’s follow the example of our colleagues in the UK and stop contracting out our health.”

Click here for more on the Scottish fight against hospital infections and comments by the Scottish health minister or visit:


For more information, please contact:

David Robbins, CUPE Communications, cell 613 878 1431