Bruyere cuts 28 jobs – tip of the iceberg?

Bruyere Continuing care is the latest hospital to announce cuts to balance its budget. The Ottawa hospital is cutting 28 jobs as part of its efforts to eliminate a $3.1 million deficit.

Calculating government revenues are not an easy task this year. Hospitals have been told they will receive no increase to their base budgets. The government is also implementing a new funding formula that will negatively impact 36 hospitals. Then the LHINs will be invited to tinker further. There will be modest increases for specific hospital funding envelopes such as wait times initiatives. Bruyere has calculated the net funding impact will be an increase of just 0.2 per cent.

Support staff will take the brunt of the cuts, including rehab and palliative care orderlies. Two managers will also lose their jobs. Bruyere also intends to shorten its cafeteria hours and eliminate laundry for long-stay patients.

Michel Bilodeau, the interim CEO, told the Ottawa Citizen “if we still get around zero (per cent) next year, it’s going to be a very difficult year. I can’t see that we would go another year like this without closing beds.”

The layoffs and service cuts will not entirely close the gap – Bruyere is still looking for another $500,000 in cost reductions.

Bruyere’s announcement is likely to be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to hospital cuts this year. Last summer the Auditor General of Ontario warned in his pre-election report that a 3.6 per cent funding increase for health care would challenge hospitals to either cut services or run larger deficits. The McGuinty spring budget has instead proposed even less – an average of 2.1 per cent for health care, most of that being distributed to home care and long-term care.

Bilodeau recently made headlines by advocating for private two-tier health care.

In mid-May The Ottawa Hospital announced it would be shedding 96 jobs due to budget restraint.

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