Local health care workers recently took a stand against the Progressive Conservative government’s restructuring, centralization, and reduced funding of health care services.
Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) rallied outside of La Verendrye Hospital yesterday in defence of public health.
Hospital workers and members of the publics waved flags and enjoyed a barbecue lunch before hearing speeches from vice-president of CUPE Local 4807 Corinne Webb, president of the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) Local 81 Janine Webb, and OCHU president Michael Hurley,
Hurley said by 2023-24 there will be $8 billion less than what’s needed for run the healthcare system to carry on as it currently operates, as outlined by the Financial Accountability Office–an independent financial observing arm of the government.
He stressed that this gap in funding comes at a time when the costs of doctors’ salaries, inpatient drugs, and medical technologies are rising higher than the rate of inflation.
The province’s 2018-19 budget plan to 2023-24 shows healthcare spending will rise by an average of one percent while the general rate of inflation is around 2.1 percent and inflation for medical costs in Canada are projected to rise six percent this year, according to AON’s global report.
Those at the rally also spoke about how the restructuring of health care services centralizes key decision-making, which means less representation for communities like Fort Frances and Kenora.
Because the health care system is already underfunded and health care workers are losing their jobs, union representatives are urging the public to “make some noise” and speak out against the government’s health care decisions to push back and save public health care services.