Restoring hospital funding to deal with population and inflationary pressures is a priority for many Ontarians and the political party that delivers will reap the benefits in the next election, said the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE) president Michael Hurley today.

In Sudbury to announce a June 8 rally in the city - the fourth in a series of large rallies planned for 2017 - calling for stable multi‑year public hospital funding that meets inflation and the needs of growing and ageing population, Hurley urged opposition parties to “tell us their funding plan for hospitals.”

Last week’s Liberal budget only gave hospitals a 3 per cent increase in funding. But real costs are rising by 5.3 per cent. That’s a funding shortfall of $350 million for Ontario hospitals. For Sudbury’s Health Sciences North (HSN) that means about $8 million less funding than the hospital needs to maintain existing services.

At this funding level “hospitals will continue to be overcrowded with patients cared for in solariums, discharged too early and provided less nursing care than patients in other provinces,” said Hurley.

Dave Shelefontiuk the president of CUPE 1623 at HSN said front line staff at the hospital are “working flat out and dealing with high workloads and demands. I don’t see how keeping a hospital workforce so lean that they are permanently exhausted can be good for patient outcomes.”

Ontario has the fewest hospital beds than any of the other provinces and provides less nursing care per person.

The June rally in Sudbury is one of several planned for 2017. Over 2000 hospital and long‑term care workers attended similar rallies held in October 2016 in Kingston and in Hamilton last February.