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Peterborough With the elimination of 39 registered practical nurses at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre, area residents must be asking why the Ontario Liberal government is betraying them and where Peterboroughs share of $2.2 billion in new health care dollars is going, says the union representing more than 500 nursing, maintenance and service workers at Peterborough General Hospital.

Despite revenue from the $1.4 billion Ontario health premium and $800 million in federal funding earmarked for provincial health care investment, the McGuinty Liberals have said that hospitals must cut staff and services to meet imposed balanced budget legislation as the government transforms health care across the province.

Since last fall, CUPE 1943 members have alerted the Peterborough community that the governments plan to transform and integrate health services, would mean huge cuts to services, programs and staff.

Now the people of Peterborough are experiencing this governments health care transformation plan first hand. What it means is that hospitals are forced to cut costs by eliminating hospital staff. Ultimately, its patients who will receive less care and have to endure dirtier hospitals, and workers who will be paying the price of underfunding with job loss, says Diane Crough president of Local 1943 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

Although 75 positions in total have been cut, the regional hospital still has a $2.6 million deficit. And what this means for the community, adds Crough, is that next year more RPNs, housekeepers and other front line staff could lose their jobs. There were no cuts to management positions announced by the hospital.

The Liberal government health care transformation includes the rationalization of hospital, homecare, and long-term care services into new regional health networks that will, in effect, spread health services and jobs over a large geographic area. Called Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs), Peterboroughs regional network stretches from Markham to Cobourg, and will be run by Liberal government appointees who will control all funding for the entire LHINs.

The LHINs and the ensuing integration of services, will set health care delivery on a roller coaster ride in all our communities. Local services will be moved out of communities, decent paying jobs will be cut, and local control over health care delivery will be lost, says Michael Hurley, the president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE).


For more information, please contact:
Michael Hurley, President, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions - (416) 884-0770
Diane Crough, President, CUPE 1943, Peterborough Hospital - (705) 745-3511
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications - (416) 578-8774