So will the provincial and federal government step in to fund the system appropriately or will they use the lack of govt. funds to claim that entitlements such as health care must be cut back? If creating jobs and spending money in areas that need the money is a way out of the depression why are governments not bending over backwards to inject more funds into the healthcare system?
This is from the Star.
Healthcare jobs at risk, unions warn TheStar.com - News & Features - Healthcare jobs at risk, unions warn
January 12, 2009 Tanya TalagaQueen's Park bureau
Nearly 5,000 healthcare jobs could be lost along with 9 million hours of patient care if provincial underfunding of hospitals continues, Ontario unions warn.
Hospitals of all sizes are threatened during these harsh economic times and quietly services are disappearing across Ontario, they say.
In 2008, the hospitals received a funding increase of 2.4 per cent from the provincial government and the healthcare inflation rate was 3.5 per cent, said Mike Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, part of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
"We are predicting in the coming fiscal year ... you will see 5,000 positions eliminated in the hospitals - 4,000 through attrition and 1,000 through involuntary lay-offs," said Hurley. "You are going to see an ongoing and aggressive downsizing of the system that we haven't experienced for sometime."
The losses will translate into longer wait times for the public and a "general deterioration" of the quality of services, he added.
Hurley warned small and rural hospitals are particularly at risk, especially in areas such as Port Colborne, Fort Erie, Leamington, Strathroy and Picton - hospitals that are all suffering funding woes, he said in a news conference at Queen's Park this morning. The conference was held by the Canadian Auto Workers Union, CUPE, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, the Ontario Federation of Labour and the Service Employees International Union.
However the Ontario Hospital Association, the organization representing the provincial hospitals, would not confirm 5,000 jobs are threatened.
"The OHA has specifically chosen to not communicate publicly about specific potential funding or job loss scenarios because such forecasting is imprecise," the association said in a release this afternoon.
"We believe that the most responsible course of action at this time is for hospitals, Local Health Integration Networks, employee groups and the Government of Ontario to work together to minimize the potential impact of the global financial crisis on Ontario's patients and health care professionals. Our organization continues to work in that regard."
Ontario Health Minister David Caplan defended his government's record in the health sector.
There have been no funding cuts, he said. The March budget provides a 2.1 per cent increase in funding for hospitals in 2009-2010 and that will not change.
"Since 2003, Ontario's hospitals have received a nearly 32 per cent increase in annual funding - an unprecedented level of investment," said Caplan. "While we recognize the challenges of the current economic environment, the McGuinty government is committed to ensuring continued investment in our health care sector, and took on a deficit in the current fiscal year to protect services. I have told our Ontario hospital partners to continue to plan according to the funding assumptions noted in last year's budget."