Ontario Liberals short-changing Ottawa hospital patient care by over $312 million each year

Saturday, November 28, 2015

According to Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) data, Ontario spends 25.3 per cent less than the rest of Canada on hospital care. That means that provincial funding for Ottawa area hospitals would need to increase by $312,685,078 a year in order to reach the average hospital funding level in the rest Canada. On a per capita (person) basis Ontario would need to increase provincial funding annually by at least $353.96 per person, to reach the norm in the rest of Canada.

In the past, Ontario closely followed Canada-wide spending patterns on hospital care. The CIHI numbers also show that Ontario is in the third consecutive year of an absolute per capita expenditure decline on hospitals, said Michael Hurley president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) at a media conference in Ottawa today.

The gap in provincial funding has resulted in significant service and bed cuts and over 600 staff positions eliminated, at Ottawa area hospitals including at the Ottawa, Elisabeth-Bruyere and the Montfort hospitals, said Hurley.

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 4000 president Rob Driskell and CUPE 4540 president Brian Grant also spoke at the media conference focused broadly on comparing Ontario's hospital funding with that of other provinces and, specifically on how much provincial funding for Ottawa area hospitals would need to increase, in order to reach the average hospital funding level in the rest of Canada.

"The rain of cuts in Ottawa in acute care, can be traced to the decision to lag hospital expenditures by 25 per cent relative to the other provinces. The funding gap of over $312 million is like we are missing an entire hospital in Ottawa. Among provinces and territories, Ontario's Liberal government is uniquely financing a huge cut in corporate taxes by slicing billions from direct hospital patient care," said Hurley.

Ontario has the shortest in hospital patient stays in Canada. On a Canada-wide basis patients get 14.2 per cent more nursing care than patients in Ontario.

"Hospitals in the rest of Canada have 21 per cent more practical nurses than hospitals in Ontario. That means patients in other parts of Canada get more direct nursing care than Ontario patients. More than 500,000 hours of patient care, therapy and hospital support per year have been cut at Ottawa Hospital alone," said Driskell.

In addition to falling behind the rest of Canada on overall spending for hospitals, Ontario also lags in spending in other areas. "Despite the claim by the Ontario Liberals that they are putting funding into home and community care, Canada as a whole is spending 16.7 per cent more than Ontario on other health care primarily home and community care," added Grant.

OCHU is the hospital division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents nearly 75,000 health care workers in Ontario.