Ford PCs plan to centralize health decisions in Thunder Bay, Kenora community forum Wednesday looks at patient impact

KENORA, ON – Health care in northwestern Ontario is under very real threat as Progressive Conservative restructuring centralizes key decision-making from communities like Kenora, Fort Frances and Rainy River into Thunder Bay, along with vital services like ambulance dispatch.

Panelist at a community forum on Wednesday, July 3 (7:00 p.m.) at Seven Generations Education Institute, 240 Veterans Drive, Kenora will review the Progressive Conservative plan for health system changes and detail impacts of the restructuring on patients in northwestern Ontario.

When the PCs took office last summer, they made vague promises about ending hallway medicine, increasing system capacity and no public sector staff layoffs, while cutting government spending on services. Now, one year later, have the PCs delivered? How they are really doing to enhance patients’ access to care is the focus of ‘Protecting What Matters Most,’ a new report by the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU), being released at Wednesday evening’s forum.

The report looks at health ministry spending restraint outlined in the 2019 budget while factoring inflation, population and aging growth cost pressures, then projecting how many hospital staff and beds would be cut in communities like Kenora, Fort France, Rainy River and Emo. New information coming from Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office (FAO) review of the PCs future budget cuts will also be made available.

For hospital services, real funding cuts planned by the PC government for the next few years are, in fact, “well beyond early forecasts and especially alarming given we are overwhelmed today with a serious lack of hospital capacity,” says OCHU/CUPE president Michael Hurley. “The Progressive Conservatives are on track to deliver a patient access crisis, all the while using a massive health system restructuring to divert attention from the cuts coming to staff, beds and hospital capacity.”

Instead of “protecting what matter’s most,” the PC plans mean that hospitals are being especially targeted.

The community forum in Kenora Wednesday, is co-sponsored by the Ontario Health Coalition and OCHU, the hospital division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Ontario.

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For more information, please contact:

Michael Hurley, President, OCHU/CUPE, 416-884-0770
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications, 416-559-9300, syeadon@cupe.ca

COPE491/EW

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Source: CUPE Ontario