Service and care cuts at Ross Memorial Hospital undermining future of the hospital MPP must speak out against them

LINDSAY, ON — Piece-by-piece health services once available to Lindsay residents at Ross Memorial Hospital (RMH) are being moved to the Peterborough hospital or “quietly, silently being eliminated altogether,” says Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU)/CUPE.

Hospital staff are concerned, says Hurley that the most recent rash of “hospital service cuts will compromise current patient care levels and undermine the future of the hospital down the road. Hospital staff want local member of the provincial parliament (MPP) to speak out against the cuts and protect the community hospital.” Read More...

“We will not be silenced from speaking up about violence” Thursday noon rally planned for Sue McIntyre at Vic Fedeli’s office

NORTH BAY, Ont. — Support from the local community and from healthcare workers across Ontario is pouring in for Sue McIntyre, the North Bay nurse fired by North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC) after she spoke up about employer reprisals against hospital staff who report attacks from patients.

Sue’s neighbours, friends and co-workers will show their support this Thursday, February 11, 2016 at a noon rally at Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli’s North Bay office. Thursday’s rally is the first of several events planned this month. Supporters from across the province are heading to North Bay for a rally on Monday, February 29, 2016 at noon at the hospital.

Silence on hospital patient care cuts by MPP Lou Rinaldi not acceptable

COBOURG, Ont. Silence by Northumberland area MPP Lou Rinaldi on the detrimental impact of hospital patient care and service cuts at the community hospital, is not acceptable, say area health care workers who expect better from him.
The Ontario legislature resumes in mid-February and all indicators are that a provincial budget will follow in early March. Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) staff represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) “want our MPP to be vocal before that budget is released. We want him to call for an increase to hospital funding and a stop to the hospital cuts. We want him to do what he was elected to do and stand up for hospital services in our communities across the county. Mr. Rinaldi,” says Alice Cunnington, CUPE 2628 president, “also has an obligation to ensure that Ontarians from outside our community, driving our stretch of the 401 have access to a well-staffed hospital, ready to provide all-manner of care in a medical emergency.” Read More...

North Bay Hospital must reinstate nurse fired for speaking up about patient assaults

Toronto, On. — A nurse who spoke on a panel about patient violence against nurses has been terminated by the North Bay Regional Hospital.
The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU)/CUPE is calling on the provincial government to pressure the North Bay Regional Hospital to reinstate the nurse and to adopt legislation that would make it a criminal offense to assault a health care worker and protect staff who report violent incidents from reprisal.
The North Bay hospital, “is bullying this nurse with the severest form of reprisal for telling the truth about patient violence. This autocratic management knows these assaults are going on, has done very little about them and doesn’t want people to talk about them. The hospital CEO must be held accountable for this decision to spend tens of thousands of scarce health care dollars on lawyers to try to uphold this indefensible firing,” says OCHU north- eastern Ontario vice-president Sharon Richer.


Hamilton RPNs call for provincial action on pervasive violence against nurses

Hamilton, On.— Hamilton registered practical nurses (RPNs) are calling on the provincial government and area MPPs to help stop pervasive and increasing patient attacks on nurses. Just returned from a conference on health sector violence, they want laws to better protect them by charging violent patients under the criminal code and that include, enforceable whistleblower and no reprisal protections “for nurses brave enough” to report violent incidents.


Don't Sign TPP Trade Deal, Federal Liberals Told

OTTAWA, Ont. — Provisions relating to access to medicines in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal will cement high drug prices and undermine the health of hundreds of millions of people for generations, the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE (OCHU) charged today. The TPP has been negotiated between Canada, the U.S. and 10 other Pacific Rim countries.

"The Harper government negotiated a trade deal that will raise the price of drugs and reduce the availability of lower cost generics, and strengthen and create new patent and regulatory monopolies for pharmaceutical products. The federal Liberal government should not sign off on this deal. This is simply a continuation of the 'race to the bottom' economics of the Harper government," says Michael Hurley, president of OCHU.

Demise of PSW registry gives province opportunity to get it right and end exploitation of racialized, female workforce

Toronto, ON- Now that the "ill-conceived" registry for personal support workers (PSWs) has been scrapped, the 20,000 PSWs represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario in long-term care, hospitals and community care are asking for the issue of regulation for PSWs to be made a priority.

Educational requirements and occupational demands on PSWs have increased significantly over the last five years. "Despite this, the government's economic interest has been to perpetuate the exploitation of PSWs in the home care sector by denying them effective self-regulation, available to most other occupations. Our expectation is equal treatment with Ontario's other professions and trades," says Michael Hurley first vice-president of CUPE Ontario.

Federal government should create a national registry of asbestos in public buildings and join the ban against the use and import of asbestos: union

Kingston On- The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE (OCHU) supports the call on the federal government to create a national registry of asbestos in public buildings and for the ban on the use and import of asbestos endorsed by the European Union, Australia and other countries.

“ Increasing rates of mesothelioma and other related cancers and respiratory diseases in Canada require dramatic measures to finally address the preventable public health tragedy of asbestos use,” says Sharon Richer, OCHU vice-president responsible for occupational health and safety. Read More...

Stop attacks on nurses, charge violent patients under criminal code: union

Kingston, ON — All 150 registered practical nurses (RPNs) from across Ontario attending a conference on violence this week reported that they have been assaulted at work. They point to underfunding that leaves staff vulnerable to increased patient aggression. And nurses say there is a gender bias in new provincial and federal spending on bricks and mortar infrastructure rather than human services, which leaves them more vulnerable.

Recently, nurses in Hamilton, Cornwall, North Bay and Kingston suffered serious injuries from patient attacks. In one case the nurses were repeatedly punched in the head, with one losing consciousness after being thrown against a wall. In another a nurse was beaten unconscious with a lead pipe. Read More...

Liberal government has turned its back to patient hardship and suffering in northern Ontario

Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario Ontario’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs is in Sault Ste. Marie tomorrow for one of six pre-budget consultations across the province. Michael Hurley the president of Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) presenting to the committee at 1:45 p.m. at the Delta Waterfront, has a direct message for the provincial government; “invest in hospital care before more patients in northern Ontario suffer.”
Hurley is not alone in calling for an end to the hospital funding and care cuts that have plagued Ontario for over four years of a provincial funding freeze for hospitals. A chorus of disparate voices from hospital administrators to front line nurses “are telling the provincial government in their own way, some more directly than others, that cuts to hospital funding have gone too far, patient care is suffering and real people are being hurt.”
The Sault hospital’s Ron Gagnon recently told media there has been no increase in base hospital funding for the last four years. He called this a dramatic change in funding, while the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) in a rare public comment, said that due to the provincial funding freeze hospitals are facing “extremely” challenging budget decisions.
“That kind of language is all a euphemism for more service cuts are coming,” says Hurley, who adds that in northern Ontario the decline in provincial hospital funding has meant “widespread cuts to hospital services, patient care and jobs.” These cuts include:

    With a seniors population well above the provincial average, poorer health outcomes and higher rates of poverty and chronic diseases than the rest of Ontario, northern Ontario is “being dealt with particularly harshly by Sault area MPP David Orazietti’s Liberal government,” says Hurley. “What’s more they seem to be inured to patient suffering. It’s like they have a tin ear, particularly when it comes to the lack of health services in the province’s north east.”
    Coinciding with the hospital care cuts is a large increase in hospital readmissions. Canadian Institute for Health Information indicates that across Ontario the number of all patients readmitted to hospital has increased since 2009-10 through 2013-14 from 8.3 per 100 patients to 9.1 per 100 patients. This is an increase of 9.6% over just four years.  
    “That’s an extra 9,000 patients being readmitted to hospitals each year. Ontario has gone from having below average readmissions to above average readmissions. Hospitals in north east Ontario (including Sault Ste. Marie) have higher readmissions still with a rate of 9.7% compared to the Ontario average of 8.9%,” says Hurley.
    For further information:
    Michael Hurley, President, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE (OCHU): 416-884-0770
    Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications: 416-559-9300

    Fedeli wrong to blame beleaguered NE LHIN for lack of health services in northeastern Ontario

    NORTH BAY, ON — The beleaguered North East Local Health Integration Network (NE LHIN) is a “scapegoat” and a pawn in the province’s plan to under-resource health care, says Michael Hurley the president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU). “While complicit, the LHIN should not be blamed for the lack of health services in Ontario’s northeast. We encourage the MPP from Nipissing to place the blame for lack of access to medical care where it belongs, with the provincial government.”

    Blame province for lack of health services in northeastern Ontario, not beleaguered NE LHIN

    SUDBURY, ON – The beleaguered North East Local Health Integration Network (NE LHIN) is a “scapegoat” and a pawn in the province’s plan to under-resource health care, says Michael Hurley the president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU). “While complicit, the LHIN should not be blamed for the lack of health services in Ontario’s northeast. The provincial government is to blame.”

    The Ontario Auditor General (AG) put the spotlight on the province’s health policy and the LHINs specifically in her most recent report. The AG found that the NE LHIN is among the majority of regional health networks that failed to meet “performance targets”. In fact the AG reports, that none of the 14 LHINs met all the performance indicators that measure access to selected health services and readmission patterns of patients with specific health conditions.

    Federal government must restore Local Programming Improvement Fund to help keep CHCH afloat: Hamilton hospital staff

    Hamilton, Ont. – “The federal Liberal government needs to take a broad approach to funding infrastructure and step in now to restore the Local Programming Improvement Fund, cut this year by the CRTC, which pumped between 5 and 8 million dollars annually into CHCH television in Hamilton,” say the presidents of two of Hamilton’s largest community unions.

    Friday last week, CHCH announced it was filing for bankruptcy, cutting local news programming from 80 hours to 17.5 hours, and laying off 129 full-time and 38 part-time staff (some of who have been rehired under a “re-structured” media company). Read More...

    Health minister should not ignore low morale and high staff turnover at Glengarry Memorial Hospital

    ALEXANDRIA, ON — Low staff morale and high staff turnover rates at Glengarry Memorial Hospital are creating internal turmoil at the hospital and taking a toll on patient care, warned the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU).

    “The situation at the hospital should not be ignored by Ontario’s health minister and we are again urging him to intervene and investigate what’s going on at the hospital,” says OCHU president Michael Hurley.

    OCHU is the hospital division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents registered practical nurses, clerical, cleaning, dietary and other staff at the Glengarry hospital. Read More...

    Closure of 7 bed mental health unit “just the beginning” of massive cuts looming over St. Joseph’s Hamilton

    HAMILTON, ON — “The looming closure of Harbour North East #2, a 7 bed mental health treatment unit at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton is just the beginning of a series of coming cuts to hospital services,” warns Domenic DiPasquale, president of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 786, which represents 1,700 staff at the hospital.

    Inadequate provincial funding for hospitals has fueled successive budget deficits and bed closures and service and staff cuts at St. Joe’s. This year that provincial funding shortfall is expected to be about $26,000,000. “That could translate into many staff reductions, since 85 per cent of all spending is on salaries, as well as more bed closures and program cuts,” says DiPasquale. Read More...