$100 million cut at Ottawa Hospital alone since 2012 – union

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The announcement on Friday of $19 million in funding for Ottawa hospitals actually represents a 3% cut in their real funding needs and it follows over $100 million in cuts at these hospitals since 2012 – a union representing staff at the hospitals said on Wednesday.

“Beds, services and staff have all been cut through 9 consecutive years of provincial hospital funding cutbacks. Hospitals need real funding increases of 4% a year to meet the rising costs of doctors’ salaries, medical technologies and the drugs provided free to inpatients, but they have received 0% for the past 3 years and 1% in this year. This represents another significant budget cut actually,” says Rob Driskell, president of CUPE Local 4000, which represents staff at the Ottawa Hospital.

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According to Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) data, Ontario spends 25.3 per cent less than the rest of Canada on hospital care. That means that provincial funding for Ottawa area hospitals would need to increase by $312,685,078 a year in order to reach the average hospital funding level in the rest Canada. On a per capita (person) basis Ontario would need to increase provincial funding by at least $353.96 each year to reach the Canada-wide norm.

In the past, Ontario closely followed Canada-wide spending patterns on hospital care. The CIHI numbers also show that Ontario is in the third consecutive year of an absolute per capita expenditure decline on hospitals.

“In 2015 the Ottawa Hospital trimmed $26 million from its budget in response to provincial funding cuts. The announcement of $19 million for all Ottawa hospitals should be read in that context. Hospitals in Ottawa will be forced to cut their budgets in 2016-17 because this 1% funding allocation falls far short of their actual funding needs. We are calling on the provincial government to fund hospitals at the level of their real operating costs, which is 4%, not the 1% so proudly announced in Ottawa,” said Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE, which represents staff at Ottawa hospitals. – CNW

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