Sunday, May 15, 2016

Horwath visits Windsor focused on hospital cuts

May 15, 2016 05:14 from Joel Boyce
(Photo by AM800 reporter Joel Boyce)

The Ontario NDP are ramping up efforts to stop hospital cuts.
Leader Andrea Horwath was in Windsor today to hear from front-line health care workers about the challenges they are facing due to the Liberal government's cuts to hospital funding.
Horwath says more than 1,440 nurses has been fired since the start of 2015, and this year's budget is another recipe for even more cuts.

She says hospital funding should be stable, predictable and, at a minimum, must keep pace with inflation and population growth.

"It's clear that is the silent crisis of the Wynne government. Patients knows it, and families sure feel it. The Liberals have pushes our hospitals too far, and patients are the ones who are paying the price."

Sue Sommerdyk is the bargaining unit president for the Ontario Nurses Association for Windsor Regional. She says the cuts are very upsetting.

"We're losing highly-skilled, highly-trained nurses. We're seeing an erosion of patient care. We're seeing a time when we should be getting support," says Sommerdyk. "It's a terrible time for nurses, and especially it's Nurses Week and we don't have anything to celebrate because we don't feel that the government is celebrating us."

Horwath says it's time for the Liberal government to stop cutting hospital care, put  a moratorium on cutting nurses, and ensure Ontario families can count on their heath care system to be there when they need it.

Windsor hospital part of 'silent crisis' in health care funding, says Ontario NDP

Windsor Regional Hospital is another victim of a “silent crisis” in provincial health care funding, says the leader of the Ontario NDP.
“The Liberals are forcing our hospitals to make decisions based on dollars and deficits rather than what’s best for patients here in Ontario,” said Andrea Horwath in front of WRH’s Metropolitan Campus on Sunday.
“Patients know it, and families sure feel it. The Liberals have pushed our hospitals too far.”
Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath speaks to media outside the Met Campus of Windsor Regional Hospital on May 15, 2016.
Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath speaks to media outside the Met Campus of Windsor Regional Hospital on May 15, 2016. Nick Brancaccio / Windsor Star
Horwath spent an hour at the hospital on Sunday meeting with two patients and four nurses to hear their perspectives on the state of Windsor health care.
The session was part of a political campaign the Ontario NDP has been mounting across the province. Last week, Horwath held similar meetings and press conferences at hospitals in London, St. Catharines, and Timmins.
Horwath described what she heard at WRH as a “desperation situation,” with “real, serious concern about the ability to access timely and full services.”
According to Horwath, Ontario health care spending must be revamped so that hospital funding keeps pace with inflation, “at the bare minimum.”
“And that has to happen each and every year,” Horwath said. “Anything less is unacceptable.”
Asked for specific numbers that show a problem at Windsor Regional Hospital, Horwath said there has been no increase in provincial funding for any Ontario hospital over the past four years.
“They have had zero per cent increase for four years running, at a time when every single year, you have inflationary pressures,” Horwath said.
Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath (L) with Sue Sommerdyk (R) of the Ontario Nurses' Association.
Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath (L) with Sue Sommerdyk (R) of the Ontario Nurses’ Association. Nick Brancaccio / Windsor Star
Horwath was joined on Sunday by Sue Sommerdyk, president of the Ontario Nurses’ Association bargaining unit for 1,550 registered nurses at Windsor Regional Hospital.
“We’re seeing an erosion in patient care,” Sommerdyk said. “It’s a terrible time for nurses.”
Sommerdyk raised similar concerns in January, when the ONA received notice that Windsor Regional Hospital is cutting 169 registered nurse positions.
Horwath noted that more than 1,440 nursing positions have been cut across the province since the beginning of 2015.
Last week, the Ontario NDP called for a complete moratorium on the loss of any nursing positions at hospitals.
Horwath did not meet with representatives of WRH administration during her session on Sunday.
Asked why not, Horwath replied: “That wasn’t our plan. Administration is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Their budgets are being cut, so they have to make cuts to services.”
“I don’t put the blame for the crisis in our hospitals on administration. … That blame belongs squarely at the feet of (Ontario Premier) Kathleen Wynne and her Liberal government.”
In response to Horwath’s comments, Ontario Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins told the St. Catharines Standard that the 2016 Ontario budget increased health care spending by $1 billion.
“That’s a 2.1 per cent increase this year — greater than the rate of inflation,” Hoskins said.
But Horwath said in Windsor that Hoskins should be embarrassed by that statement. “If he’s throwing an extra billion dollars in the health care system, it’s certainly not reaching the patients.”
“I don’t know who Dr. Hoskins thinks he’s fooling. You ask any patient, any resident of this province who has had to access health care recently, and you’ll find they are not satisfied.”
From left: Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Percy Hatfield, Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, her assistant Lyndon George, and Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky in the parking lot of Windsor Regional Hospital on May 15, 2016.
From left: Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Percy Hatfield, Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, her assistant Lyndon George, and Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky in the parking lot of Windsor Regional Hospital on May 15, 2016. Nick Branaccio / Windsor Star

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Ontario Nurses’ Association, NDP Call for Moratorium on RN Cuts

Ontario has second-worst RN-to-population ratio in Canada

TORONTO – The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) and the provincial NDP called on the government to implement an immediate moratorium on cuts to registered nurse (RN) positions today.

At a joint media conference at Queen’s Park this morning, ONA First Vice-President Vicki McKenna, RN joined NDP Leader Andrea Horwath in announcing that Ontario hospitals have cut 1,440 RN positions, or the equivalent of three RN positions per day since the beginning of 2015.

“To put the total number of RN cuts in perspective, that’s 90 RNs per month gone from front-line patient care and a loss to our patients of 2.8 million hours of RN care in just 17 months,” said McKenna.

“The repercussions of such deep RN cuts are serious,” she said. “Evidence from multiple studies show that for every extra patient added to an average RN’s workload, the patient’s risk of suffering complications and even death increases by seven per cent. Patients occupying Ontario hospital beds today suffer from multiple, complex illnesses, and require the skills and education of RNs. Yet years of hospital funding freezes have resulted in the loss of RNs just as patients need their care the most.”

McKenna points out that increasing RN staffing saves the health-care system money by lowering the rates of expensive hospital readmissions. “The value of adequate RN staffing cannot be overstated,” she said. “One study found the savings associated with the prevention of patient complications by critical care RNs was up to 10 times the cost of staffing the RNs.”

In Canada, only British Columbia has a lower RN-to-population ratio.

ONA is the union representing 60,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in hospitals, long-term care, the community, public health, clinics and industry.

RNs! What did your employer give you this year for Nurses Week??

Does this look familiar?

What about this one?

How about this? No?

Must be this one!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Windsor Essex County Citizens Say NO MORE RN CUTS!

Published on May 9, 2016
It’s my pleasure to rise today on behalf of my community of Windsor West on the first day of Nursing Week in Ontario. Our dedicated and professional nurses are critical to delivering the quality health care people living in this province know and deserve. Today, I’m joined by some of these caregivers from my riding, and I thank them for taking it the time to come to Queen’s Park.

While our front-line health care workers work hard every day to ensure our families stay healthy, the Liberal government’s underfunding of hospitals continues to make their jobs more difficult. This year, Windsor Regional Hospital announced that 169 nursing positions will be eliminated. This is the equivalent to the loss of 330,000 hours of hands-on RN patient care per year. Aspiring nurses may be forced to seek out employment in the US, costing us our next generation of trained and dedicated caregivers in Ontario.These cuts will have a real impact on people in their most vulnerable moments.

Hospitals must not be forced to make decisions based on dollars and deficits.

Nearly 10,000 caregivers, health care recipients and families in Windsor and Essex county signed a petition calling for an end to these short-sighted hospital cuts. Enough is enough. It’s time for this government to listen.

New Democrats know nurses are vital to making sure families and seniors in Windsor and across Ontario get quality health care they can count on. It’s time for this government to recognize the value of our nurses in delivering patient care and commit to a moratorium on nursing cuts.

Windsor nurses in Queen's Park today protesting job losses at WRH

Area registered nurses hold an information rally along Tecumseh Road East in Windsor, Ont. on Feb. 15, 2016. Jason Kryk / Windsor Star
Nurses from Windsor are at Queen’s Park today, to see presented in the legislature an 8,000-name petition protesting the loss of 169 registered nursing jobs at Windsor Regional Hospital.
About 15 arrived there this morning, the start of Nursing Week in the province. Their union, the Ontario Nurses Association, is citing the Windsor Regional cuts as among the most severe in the province, where 1,400 jobs have been lost since the start of 2015.

Karen Bertrand, an ONA vice president for the region that includes Windsor, said the nurses are attending Question Period this morning, when MPP Lisa Gretzky (NDP — Windsor West) is expected to ask about the job losses.
In the afternoon, they’ll be in the gallery watching as local MPPs Gretzky, Percy Hatfield (NDP — Windsor-Tecumseh) and Taras Natyshak (NDP — Essex) present the petition.
The 8,000 names are for the paper petition. Bertrand said an online petition, which can’t be presented in the legislature, has 17,000 names of people protesting the loss of jobs.
Earlier today, ONA joined with the NDP Leader Andrea Horwath in a news conference, where they called for an immediate moratorium on nursing cuts.

Happy Nurses Week!

Windsor nurses are at Queen's Park today to formally submit nearly 10,000 petition signatures from Windsor Essex residents calling for end RN cuts.

 #NursesKnow #OnPoli #CanLab

I am an activist.

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Survey on Privatization of Public Health Care
and its Impact on Patients

This survey is being conducted by the Ontario Health Coalition, a public interest group dedicated to protecting and improving public health care.
The survey takes most people less than 5 minutes to complete and almost everyone finishes within 10 minutes.

You can do the survey online at:

Needed medical services provided by hospitals and by doctors are supposed to be covered by OHIP, paid through our taxes and provided free when we are sick or in need. However, we are receiving complaints from patients who are being charged extra fees for this care.
The Canada Health Act says that patients cannot be charged these extra fees for medically necessary hospital and doctor services. Public health care is supposed to cover all Canadians equally, but sometimes private clinics or public hospitals charge extra to patients unlawfully.
Some examples of unlawful extra fees include:
  • I was charged $1,200 for cataract surgery
  • My mother was charged $50 for a consultation with a doctor
  • The private clinic told my grandfather that he had to pay a fee for the clinic to keep his medical records
  • My wife was charged a “facility fee” at the endoscopy clinic.
Sometimes private clinics charge fees for medically unnecessary tests or procedures. When you go in for cataract surgery which is a medically necessary procedure, for example, they might charge you for extra eye measurements that are medically unnecessary. Here are some examples:
  • I was charged $100 or more for extra eye measurement tests when I went in for cataract surgery
  • My father was charged a $50 fee for orange juice and a DVD at a private colonoscopy or endoscopy clinic
  • My grandmother was told she should pay $1,500 for special lenses when she went in for cataract surgery.
We are concerned that the increase in extra charges threatens equal access to health care for Canadians.
We are hoping to find out what extra fees patients are being charged and whether or not patients are given a clear choice about paying fees for unnecessary services.
We will use the information to make a public report and submissions to the Minister of Health to stop extra user charges for patients and protect equal access to public health care for all Canadians. We will not include any patients’ names or personal information in the report.
Thank you for taking the time to fill out this survey.

~ Protecting Public Medicare for All ~