Hamilton hospitals are having difficulty coping with a surge in patients, “a sadly predictable outcome of 8 years of provincial Liberal (real) budget cuts to our hospitals,” says Dave Murphy, president of CUPE 7800, which represents over 4,000 staff at Hamilton Health Science Centre. “In Ontario, we have the fewest hospital beds of any province in Canada, the fewest staff for those beds and absolutely no surge capacity.”
Demographics show that as the baby boom generation ages more health services and hospital care are needed.
“We expect that the provincial government steps up with additional stable funding and stops the cycle of cutting our hospital budgets. Unless that happens, we will be increasingly unable to cope with the increased demand of an aging population,” says Domenic DiPasquale, president of CUPE 786, which represents staff at Hamilton’s St. Joseph’s hospital.
CUPE is planning a major provincial demonstration in Hamilton on February 6 to protest the 8 years of ongoing hospital cuts by the provincial Liberal government. A similar demonstration took place in Kingston at the end of October. Several other protests, in addition to the one in Hamilton are planned for 2017.
“Hospitals need a 5% a year increase just to cover their real costs, like the drugs they provide free to inpatients. Hospital budgets have been cut every year for the last
8 years. The capacity problems in Hamilton can only be addressed by the provincial government stepping up with an infusion of real ongoing funding,” says Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE.