North Bay’s hospital and patients will not escape the impact of cutbacks resulting from the combination of 4 per cent spending cuts, $7 billion in tax cuts and a drive for a balanced budget – all promised by Ontario’s PCs, warns the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE). Factor in restructuring and privatization, and even larger cuts loom, according to a new report, Hallway Medicine: It Can Be Fixed, being released in North Bay on Wednesday.
During this spring’s election campaign, Ford promised to end “hallway medicine.” Many Ontario patients are forced to spend days on gurneys in hallways or are sent home while acutely ill, victims of a decade of real hospital funding cuts and of the 18,000 beds eliminated over the last 20 years.
The CUPE research report makes several recommendations for ending hallway medicine. It also shows that, far from ending hospital overcrowding, Ford’s tax cuts and public service cost-cutting plans, when combined with his deficit elimination promise, will mean substantial real funding cuts for hospitals.
“We can end hallway medicine by making investments to meet the needs of an aging and growing population. These additional investments are not permanent, but they are needed for the life of the baby boom generation. North Bay’s hospital, already dealing with overcapacity and years of underfunding, will not be able to maintain the quality of patient care in the face of demographic pressures without these investments,” says OCHU President Michael Hurley.