SEIU Healthcare: We Keep Hospitals Working

It comes as no shock to anyone who has had to rely on the healthcare system in Ontario that the system has come under considerable strain in recent years – especially in our hospitals.

The government has made it clear that we’re in a period of transition and uncertainty.

The Ontario Hospital Association – the group that represents the provinces hospital CEO’s – admits that the government’s healthcare allotment amounts to a budget freeze for hospitals when you factor in inflation.

And Prime Minister Harper has said that he plans to impose smaller transfer payments on the provinces even as healthcare costs continue to climb (for more stats go here). The end result is that hospital budgets will continue to flat-line (even as the salaries of hospital CEOs continue to soar, and bureaucratic costs escalate).

All this while our members—the heart of healthcare—struggle to keep hospitals working, and for that matter all parts of the healthcare system functioning.

Maybe you’ve seen our ads featuring real SEIU Healthcare hospital members from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. They appear in transit-shelters near Sunnybrook and down University Avenue’s “hospital row,” and on platforms at the Osgoode, St. Patrick and Queen’s Park subway stations. Or you may have seen them in the Metro or 24 Hours commuter newspapers, or in Hospital News.

The ads show frontline staff proud of what they do. Across the ads in large letters read the words, “Dignity”, “Respect”, “Courage” and “Heart” – heart because our members, through the many varieties of care and service they provide, are the heart of healthcare.

Why now?

SEIU Healthcare represents nearly 18,000 front-line hospital workers in Ontario. If you’ve been in a hospital lately, you’ve met one. We’re your porters, your housekeepers, your lab technicians, your paramedics, your clerical staff, and your Registered Practical Nurses…we’re in virtually every hospital service and operation. And each one is an important part of the continuum of care.

Our ads form part of a broad hospital campaign aimed at convincing decision-makers to stop cutting hospital budgets and services, contracting out to reduce costs while compromising care, and imposing onerous workloads on stretched hospital workers. It’s simply unfair to put the onus on front-line workers to bear the professional and personal costs of an economic crisis they did not cause, and in the process undermine the delivery of quality care to the people of Ontario. Front-line staff must be supported to ensure they are able to continue to deliver quality care. These issues are the focus of SEIU Healthcare’s ongoing lobbying, political action, and public awareness activities in 2013.

SEIU Healthcare is a champion for the rights of all front-line workers and a strong healthcare system. Our hospital campaign will in fact kick-off a series of campaigns showcasing other sectors such as community-based and long-term care.

We will continue to support our members in their fight to keep all our hospitals, facilities and agencies working to deliver the best in care and services - the care and services that our members provide.

For more information on our Keeping Hospitals Working campaign, please click here.

Click here for our petition to keep hospitals working!