Two community meetings around cuts to the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital drew significant crowds this week.
Cuts at the two-site rural hospital corporation are particularly severe. The Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital is seeking to find 6 per cent in savings primarily through reductions to health resources used by the community, including a cut of 12 beds, six at each site.
This is only the beginning given every hospital is struggling with zero-based budgeting from the province that is expected to impact the bottom line to 2016-17. The situation is made worse at hospitals like Perth and Smiths Falls due to the simultaneous implementation of a new funding formula that doesn’t appear to appreciate the unique demographic demands of the region.
The Health Minister and local opposition MPP Randy Hillier say services are not being cut, but are being reallocated. But is this really true?
The cuts include physiotherapy where the equivalent of more than three full-time positions will be lost at the hospital.
Numerous provincial reports have acknowledged that seniors are having trouble connecting with publicly funded physiotherapy.
Last week it was the turn of Dr. Samir Sinha, the provincial lead on Ontario’s Seniors Strategy. Sinha called for more publicly funded physiotherapy in the community, but the last OHIP-licensed private physiotherapy clinic to open in Ontario was in 1964. Health Minister Deb Matthews has been silent on this issue despite cuts to physiotherapy in about half of Ontario’s hospitals during the past year. This is one more.
Tory MPP Randy Hillier is the Rob Ford of rural Ontario. He often makes headlines for all the wrong reasons.
His hatred of unions seems to be trumping common sense these days. Hillier recently wrote an editorial in the local media aligning his views with those of Health Minister Deb Matthews. Whereas most MPPs would stand up for their local hospital, Hillier is supporting deep cuts to the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital most likely because it is the local unions that are raising the alarm. It will be interesting to see how this plays out with an election likely on the horizon for 2013.
Hillier has bought Matthew’s inaccurate assertion that hospital cuts simply represent a transfer of services to community-based providers. We see Matthews’ interest is saving her own skin amid the obvious effects of austerity on Ontario’s health care system, but what’s in it for Hillier?
Perhaps Hillier should have a conversation with his own caucus members. Last year fellow Tory MPP John O’Toole characterized the government’s “Home First” initiative as the “Home Alone” initiative during a visit by the Ontario Health Coalition. Have they had a last-minute conversion to the Liberal cause?
OPSEU’s Rick Janson joins OHC Director Natalie Mehra for the release of the coalition’s “Austerity Index.”
We can all relax now. All those hospital cuts we’ve witnessed recently – Health Minister Deb Matthews says they are not happening.
She says these services are instead being shifted. Evidently we are all fools for not realizing that the 22 beds cut at the Chatham Kent Health Alliance just represent a transfer of services to entities like the Erie-St.Clair Community Care Access Centre, which is itself cutting $8-$10 million after the LHIN refused to allow them to run a $5.2 million deficit.
Hamilton Health Sciences says $25 million in cuts are planned and expects 140 jobs will be impacted. Perhaps Ms. Matthews can tell us where these 140 jobs are re-emerging in the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN? And while she’s at it, where did the LHIN reallocate the 69 beds the Niagara Health System cut in the fall of 2011 and spring of 2012? We can’t seem to find them anywhere. Neither can the hospital, which had to cancel or postpone 758 surgeries due to “bed pressures.” Maybe those beds were needed after all.
Perhaps she can tell us where the after-hours clinic, pain clinic, audiology clinic and cardiac rehabilitation program closed by Toronto’s St. Joseph’s Health Centre shifted to? We can’t find them. Can she?
Posted in Ontario Health Coalition
Tagged Champlain CCAC, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, Cuts to Ontario Hospitals, Erie St. Clair CCAC, Health Minister Deb Matthews, Natalie Mehra, Niagara Health System, North Simcoe Muskoka CCAC, Ontario Health Coalition Austerity Index, Rick Janson, South East CCAC, Toronto St. Joseph's Health Care
Health Minister Deb Matthews says she is not seeking the Ontario Liberal leadership.
Matthews made the formal announcement at the Ontario Hospital Association HealthAchieve this morning, ending weeks of speculation.
Noting how rare it was for a health minister to be addressing her fourth OHA HealthAchieve, Matthews said she wanted to remain on as Health Minister.
Many believed that the entrance of Kathleen Wynne into the leadership contest meant that Deb Matthews would stay out.
She told the half-filled hall that the next step in “Matthews hierarchy of health care needs” is to work on transitions of care so that nobody falls between the cracks.