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In a letter to the board of the William Osler Health Centre, CUPE calls for consultations before further steps are taken to build what will be the largest privately owned hospital in Ontario.

“Government support for this private hospital represents a dramatic shift in health care policy, and a direct assault on the bedrock principles of Medicare,” says Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions. “Yet the process is proceeding in secret, with neither the provincial government nor the hospital board taking any steps to consult the public.”

The proposed 400-bed private hospital in Brampton is now the subject of a secretive tendering process with private developers, some of which are believed to be foreign corporations.

A letter from the law firm representing CUPE argues that the hospital’s board has an obligation to consider alternatives to privatization, and to consult with the community and the union before proceeding any further.

“The Tories now appear to be abandoning public health care to private companies and foreign investors, putting profits and shareholder value – not patient care – first. If we are wrong about that, then why is this whole process unfolding behind closed doors?” says Hurley.

The union’s letter attaches two reports from Canadian and British medical journals, which document the high costs of privatization for both patients and taxpayers. The text of the letter can be found at cupe.ca.