St. Joseph's Hospital, Hamilton ONCuts announced yesterday of $20 million at HHS (Hamilton Health Sciences) and $7 million at St. Joseph’s Hospital corporations will seriously undermine hospitals already operating over capacity, CUPE charged today.

“HHS is operating now at over 110 per cent capacity, which speaks to the need of a 10 per cent budget increase, not a $20 million funding cut,” said Dave Murphy, president of CUPE Local 7800, which represents 4,000 staff at HHS. “There is no question that beds and staff will have to be cut to achieve this purely mathematical target set by the provincial government, which will be achieved on the backs of the Hamiltonians who won’t get access to the acute care services they need.”

Hospitals in Ontario operate with the fewest beds and staff to population of any province in the country. They have the shortest length of stay.

“The Hamilton hospitals are over-capacity at levels well beyond what would be considered dangerous and unsafe in Britain, where anything over 85 per cent is seen as heightening the risk of medical error and hospital acquired infection. HHS and St. Joseph’s are seriously underfunded and have endured eight years of cuts, during which their budgets have been reduced by 25 per cent in real terms. The community will not stand by while the government guts these hospitals. We will certainly do everything in our power to organize support for a special infusion of funding,” said Michael Hurley, president of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions.