ARNPRIOR, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 1, 2012) - Arnprior hospital is typical of small, rural hospitals: it is well managed and operates without a deficit. But that may soon change because the provincial government's funding plan means rural hospitals get a 0 per cent increase this year. This is actually a cut of more than 5 per cent because hospital costs such as physician salaries, drugs and medical supplies and technologies rise faster than the rate of inflation.
While part of the NDP-Liberal deal to avoid an election includes $20 million for small hospitals, on overall hospital funding, this totals just over 0.1 per cent. For small hospitals like Arnprior, the funding increase is miniscule and dooms Ontario's 55 small hospitals to service cuts.
Tomorrow's (May 2, 2012 - 12:00 noon) demonstration in Arnprior at the Arnprior & District Memorial Hospital, 350 John Street North, is the beginning of a campaign by hospital staff to protect hospital services from cuts and privatization.
At the end of April, the leadership of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) the hospital division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) representing over 30,000 hospital staff province-wide, unanimously endorsed a plan of escalating actions to protect Ontario hospital services from cuts and privatization.
In addition to concerns over inadequate provincial funding for hospitals, hospital workers are also very concerned about the government's plans to consolidate surgeries out of rural communities, like Arnprior, into larger urban centers and to move surgical procedures into independent, private clinics, which "is a first step to privatizing these procedures," says OCHU president Michael Hurley.