Hospital funding in Ontario is much lower than hospital funding in the rest of Canada — $4.8 billion lower. The result is much less care for hospital patients in communities like Durham Region. A report to be released in Oshawa on Friday, September 30, 2016 at 10:00 a.m., at Alexander Park across from Lakeridge Health, 1 Hospital Court, will indicate how many hospital workers and nurses are missing for the care of the people of Durham.

Using data available from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), Fewer Hands, Less Hospital Care compares funding, staffing, nursing, and readmissions in Ontario and other provinces. The data also shows that Ontario has fallen a long way behind other provinces since the Liberals were elected provincially in 2003 — and especially since the beginning of their austerity program in 2010.

According to CIHI, Ontario government per capita funding for hospitals is $1,395.73. The rest of Canada, excluding Ontario, spends $1,749.69 per capita on hospitals. In other words, provincial and territorial governments outside of Ontario spend $353.96 more per person on hospitals than Ontario does. That is a whopping 25.3 per cent more than Ontario. Ten years ago, in 2005-2006, the hospital funding gap between Ontario and the rest of Canada was just 4.3 per cent. As a result, Ontario now provides far less nursing care for patients as the gap in funding between the rest of Canada and Ontario has steadily gone up.

“What’s so disturbing is that the provincial Liberals are proud of cutting hospital patient care. People are sent home from hospital while still acutely ill. They are denied admittance because beds are overbooked and hospital care is effectively rationed. Ambulances are stacked outside emergency rooms, unable to discharge patients,” says Michael Hurley the president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU)/CUPE. Hurley will, along with local hospital staff, release the report on Friday.

“These are real people in Durham paying the price for Ontario’s lower hospital funding — they are not percentages and numbers on a page. It’s time for the provincial government to increase funding for hospitals like Lakeridge Health in line with their real inflationary costs,” says Pam Parks, CUPE 1999 president.