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The results of a poll about the Hamilton health care system, with a focus on area hospitals and long-term care homes will be released in Hamilton on Monday, January 30, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. at 795 King Street East, Hamilton.

The poll conducted on January 22, 2017 surveys 855 Hamilton residents, 20 years and older.

Following a sustained eight-year period of provincial funding, bed and staff cuts for Hamilton’s hospitals and long-term care homes, facilities are “overflowing with patients because there aren’t enough beds. People in our community are keenly aware that our hospitals aren’t getting the funding from the province to provide the level of in-hospital care patients need. Our poll shows there is immense appetite for change to the province’s severe underfunding of hospital care,” says Dave Murphy, president of local 7800 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 7800) which represents more than 4000 hospital staff at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS).

Heather Neiser, a personal support worker at St. Joseph’s Villa and president of CUPE 1404, will join Murphy for the poll release on Monday. She says, with so many cuts to hospitals, long-term care homes “are very quickly being turned into complex continuing care hospitals without any additional staffing. Unfortunately, the province is pretending this isn’t happening and vulnerable residents are suffering for it.”

Ontario spends the least amount of money of any of the provinces on its long-term care and hospitals. Research data shows the other provinces spend 25 per cent more than Ontario on hospitals.

“We also have fewer hospital beds to population of any province in Canada or any country in the western world. We have the fewest staff working in hospitals and provide six hours less nursing care than in other provinces. In hospitals like St. Joe’s with a high number of psychiatric patients, low staffing and care is a dangerous mix and we see high levels of violence against front line staff,” says Domenic DiPasquale, president of CUPE 786 at St. Joseph’s Healthcare, also attending Monday’s poll release.

The poll directly probed residents’ support for a funding increase for Hamilton hospitals and long-term care homes and for a community rally planned for Monday, February 6, at noon at the HHS, Hamilton General site.