Following Monday’s demonstration outside the former Kingston psychiatric hospital, Providence Care is now telling staff that the job cuts and bed closures are not about funding. Really? Even though the hospital is running at capacity, even though it is next to impossible to get a loved one admitted to a bed, even though long-term projections suggest greater need for mental health services in Kingston, even though the situation has become volatile with overcrowding and understaffing, the hospital expects us to believe that this is all part of the plan.
Sigh. If this is the plan, Providence Care desperately needs a new one.
On Monday we shot video of the demonstration outside the centre (below). If you live in Kingston, please share our video with others. The campaign to reverse the cuts continues. It’s time the LHIN involves the community in a plan that actually makes sense. Stay tuned for more events.
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Tagged Brendan Kilcline, Chris Cormier, d, Dave Lundy, Kingston mental health cuts, Kingston P3 hospital, Mary Rita Holland, Providence Care, Ross Sutherland, Tracey Newton, Warren "Smokey" Thomas
Protesting outside of Kingston’s Providence Care September 9.
KINGSTON – Tracey Newton has worked at the old Kingston Psychiatric Hospital for 25 years. In that time she has seen many changes, including the tightening of access to the hospital’s services for those in the community that need help.
She arrived early at McBurney Park on September 2nd for the local march and picnic celebrating Labour Day. As the labour activists arrived, the homeless departed the park, including some of her former patients who had clearly spent the night there.
In our heightened skeptical age it is too convenient to dismiss workers as being self-interested, but it was clear speaking with Newton yesterday that the encounter was upsetting. With another 40 beds due to close, how many more former patients are now going to be sleeping rough?
The mantra in mental health has been community care, not institutional care. It has given the government the cover to make massive cuts to beds and outpatient services delivered by the province’s psychiatric hospitals.
It hasn’t meant replacing the scale and scope of these services in the community.
Kingston’s Providence Care is getting squeezed by more than bed reductions associated with the outdated planning associated with new semi-privatized replacement hospital.
They are seeing more developmentally disabled patients admitted to these beds, likely part of the consequence of closing the former Rideau Regional Centre in Smith’s Falls. Those patients too were supposed to be better off the in the community, but here they are.