KINGSTON – Facing $6 million in budget cuts, Providence Care is telling staff today of one of the biggest job losses in the history of the former Kingston Psychiatric hospital.
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union has been told the mental health facility will be shedding as many as 80-90 jobs to meet their target reduction of 60 full-time equivalent positions by next spring. This represents almost one in five jobs at the hospital.
The job reductions are part of restructuring of local health care, although the union says the planning it is based on is 20 years out-of-date.
“Providence is already under considerable stress,” says OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “The situation is volatile as too few staff are trying to manage patients with increasing care needs. This raises questions of both safety and quality of care.”
About 80 mental health workers and their supporters braved the bitter cold February 1 to raise concerns about the impact of cuts on Providence Care Mental Health Centre in Kingston.
While both Federal and Provincial governments have made promises about addressing Canada’s inadequate mental health care, the reality on the ground is that more beds are being cut and too few services are being established in the community.
When Providence Care Mental Health Care gets merged with St. Mary’s Of The Lake, the new privatized hospital will have 72 fewer beds than presently exist, yet demand for mental health care is rising.
Kingston workers brave the cold February 1 to stand up for mental health care.
OPSEU Regional VP Dave Lundy is interviewed by CKWS TV.
Workers say units are overcrowded and too few resources are available.
The formal recommendations around addressing the challenges of mental health always seem to get it right. So why is it that we never get beyond the nice words from politicians who claim to understand?
This Friday mental health professionals and support staff at Providence Care Mental Health Services – the former Kingston Psychiatric Hospital – will be taking their case public. The staff will be holding an information picket outside their hospital to let Kingston residents know of the volatile situation they face on a daily basis.
Overcrowding, program cuts, and understaffing – mental health services in this province weren’t supposed to be like this.
For all the talk of making things better, decisions still appear to be based on austerity-driven budgets, not on improving care for patients.
A provincial all-party select committee on mental health had unanimously agreed in 2010 that we need to do better so that all Ontarians get the mental health and addictions care they deserve. That includes regional assessments on the availability of a complete basket of mental health services, including acute inpatient treatment.
The all-party committee particularly noted that presenters had told them admission and discharge decisions were becoming motivated not by clinical need, but by the shortage of available beds.