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Over 1200 Hamilton residents took part in a poll recently that measured residents’ attitudes toward their community hospitals, provincial funding for hospitals, hospital service and bed cuts and access to hospital care. Poll results will be released June 1, 2016 at 11 a.m., outside Hamilton General Hospital, corner of Barton Street, East and Victoria Ave. North.

As part of a “future vision” plan, which is expected to be finalized sometime this June, Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) is seriously considering closing an entire hospital rather than rebuild hospitals. It also proposes dismantling the under-one-roof model of hospital outpatient clinics, to what appears to be non-hospital, privately-run clinics all over the city and increasing “virtual” access to services.

Overcrowding at Hamilton hospitals is common. “So when a major local hospital network proposes closing a complete hospital site and patients accessing care virtually, we find the motive highly suspect. This plan is also floating closing hospital-based outpatient clinics making it harder for patients to access in-hospital blood work, X-ray and other needed tests. What’s evident is the hospital’s agenda is cost-containment not patient access to care. That in our mind is wrong,” says Michael Hurley president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU).

OCHU along with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 7800 representing about 4000 front line staff at HHS, commissioned the poll conducted mid-May.

Several questions asked about usage, access to care and whether the respondent or someone in their family had accessed medical care including emergency or outpatient clinic services at an area hospital.

“As front line staff we know anecdotally how much our community relies on the care and services Hamilton hospitals provide. Now the poll gives us solid numbers to show how frequently residents use the hospitals. Shutting one down or closing hospital clinics would seriously harm a lot of people who are ill and need to be admitted to hospital or who need to be able to access care and tests at hospital clinics under the safety of a hospital which also has fully functioning emergency department,” says Dave Murphy president of CUPE 7800.

Of the more than 1200 poll respondents, 72 per cent are female and 83 per cent are over 51 years old.

“It is this demographic of women who make many of their family’s health-related decisions. HHS should be very mindful of what they have to say,” says Hurley.

For more information, please contact:

Dave Murphy                
President, CUPE 7800                  

Michael Hurley               
President, OCHU/CUPE                

Stella Yeadon                
CUPE Communications