Local hospital beds in jeopardy with provincial healthcare cuts, union report suggests
Published Wednesday, July 10, 2019 4:15PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 10, 2019 6:52PM EDT
A newly-released report suggests that provincial funding for Kitchener-Waterloo hospitals will cost long-term beds and staff.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees released the report on Wednesday.
The report boils down an anticipated four per cent funding cut into real numbers, though CTV has not independently confirmed them.
A spokesperson for the Minister of Health Christine Elliott says that the numbers are "unrealistic and their conclusions are misleading," pointing to a promised $1.3 billion investment from the Ontario government.
But the report says that, when considering a growing and aging population alongside inflation, the proposed cuts would effectively lop 15 per cent from the next five years.
"For Kitchener Waterloo, this [cut] would mean an absolute cut of 26 beds and 180 staff over five years," the report reads in part. "Given population growth and aging, that would be akin to a cut of 84 beds and 586 staff in the local hospitals today."
That's despite figures in the report that show that Ontario already has fewer hospital beds per capita than the rest of the country at 2.2 per 1,000 people.
In his statement, Ministry of Health spokesperson Travis Kann also mentions a $27-billion investment to add 3,000 new hospital beds around the province.
"This investment is a critical component of our plan to end hallway health care," Kann says in an emailed statement.
But the CUPE says that those new beds will not offset the projected 33,000 additional long-term care beds that an aging Ontario population will need over the next decade.
The report also points to staffing issues, claiming that Ontario has the lowest percentage of hospital employees by population.
"Hospitals across the rest of Canada are already staffed 21 (per cent) more than in Ontario," the report says. "If Ontario hospitals had the same staffing as hospitals in the rest of Canada, there would be 45,000 more hospital employees in Ontario."
The report concludes by asking Ontarians to speaking out and asking for more from their government.