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TORONTO Ontario patients are ill-served by a Liberal government that is purposefully driving hospitals to layoff 2,000 front line staff, cut programs, and privatize services, says Michael Hurley the president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE.

Studies show Ontarios hospitals are the most efficient in the country. And after a severe budgetary process, and inadequate provincial funding for 2004 to meet the growing needs of patients, hospitals have found there is little excess to trim in the system, except the jobs of hospital workers.

Today, despite growing concerns about hospital infection control and increasing waiting times, there are 12,000 less front line staff working in our hospitals than there were seven years ago.

There are less people in our hospitals doing more work. Another 2,000 staff being cut will have a huge impact on services and severely compromise the quality of direct patient care. And the morale of hospital workers who are shouldering ever-increasing workloads and face losing their jobs is at an all-time low, says Hurley.

OCHU/CUPE represents over 30,000 hospital workers. Yet despite repeated requests by the union to meet with the health minister and discuss how to secure cost efficiencies that do not affect patient care or eliminate more staff, the minister has refused to meet. A key union proposal for a province-wide benefit plan for all hospital workers, that would generate at least $200 million each year in cost savings, is virtually being ignored by the province.

By refusing to adequately fund hospitals and to explore ways to cut costs without laying off staff, the Liberal health minister is driving hospitals to privatize services by stealth, says Hurley.


For more information contact:
Michael Hurley, President Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE) - (416) 884-0770
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications - -(416) 578-8774