On Monday we will be in Kingston for the third time this year to talk about issues at Providence Care – Mental Health.
Last February we stood with staff and community members picketing in the bitter cold to protest changes they didn’t feel were in the best interests of patients. It was so cold that the iPod we were playing to keep the picket festive froze.
At the time program cuts, understaffing and overcrowding were creating significant challenges for caregivers and support staff.
We were back again April 13 for the community plebiscite vote around the proposed new P3 hospital to replace Providence’s rehab and mental health facilities. Unusually cold for the early spring, about 10,000 Kingston residents none-the-less took time and voted 96 per cent in favor of keeping the proposed new hospital completely public. At a time of austerity budgets, it was hard to imagine why the province would want to sign a deal that would hamstring the hospital with a 30-year private maintenance and financing agreement that even the local MPP admitted would be more costly than the public alternative.
Monday we are responding to news that almost one in five professional and support staff at the hospital will be without a job in the new year. When Providence Care announced the new hospital back in 2011, they made it clear that it is planning for the future by delivering less – 40 fewer mental health beds than presently exist.