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Hospitals brace for possible budget freeze

Local hospitals may be forced to make cuts to services in the new year if there is a budget freeze.

Local hospitals may be forced to make cuts to services in the new year if there is a budget freeze.

And if that happens, “preserving front line services should be the top priority,” said Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak.

“I think what is making Ottawa families rightfully upset is that they’re paying more in taxes ... and seeing less in return,” he said.

“We need to show some greater respect for taxpayer dollars,” Hudak said.

Hospitals submitted their budget plans to the Champlain Local Health Integration Network yesterday. The submissions were based on a budget freeze, a one per cent and a two per cent budget increase.

While the provincial government will not set the hospital budgets until January, hospitals are not expecting the usual two per cent increase. And if there is a budget freeze, hospitals would have to find efficiencies in services in order to account for increased wage bills from collective bargaining agreements.

Like Hudak, Liberal MPP for Ottawa West-Nepean and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Jim Watson also understands “there are pressures that the hospitals are facing.

“Over the last six years, we’ve increased funding to hospitals by over $300 million,” he said.

“We’re going to be fair to the hospital system just as we have been for the last six years and we look forward to the hospital CEOs working with the local integrated health network to come up with the best possible solution, not for the hospitals, not for the CEOs, but for the patients.”

 
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