Blame game begins
Health Minister George Smitherman said there will be no “blank cheque”to help hospitals facing staff and service cuts despite a storm thaterupted yesterday over the loss of up to 72 nursing positions at twoGTA hospitals.
Health Minister George Smitherman said there will be no “blank cheque” to help hospitals facing staff and service cuts despite a storm that erupted yesterday over the loss of up to 72 nursing positions at two GTA hospitals.
“How can you justify the firing of nurses?” Progressive Conservative health critic Elizabeth Witmer thundered at Smitherman repeatedly in the Legislature’s question period.
Smitherman said Rouge Valley Health System hospitals in Ajax and Scarborough planning to cut up to 220 jobs and close 36 beds cannot expect a bailout because they have been poorly run and exceeded their budget.
“I don’t prefer that in any circumstance,” he said of the cuts. “But the alternative is to have a free-for-all where hospitals spend whatever they want and send the bill at the end of the year. The people’s health system can’t be sustained on that basis.”
NDP Leader Howard Hampton said the financial trouble hospitals are facing is in part due to millions of extra dollars going to build and expand hospitals with public-private partnerships that pay a premium to the builders.
“Less and less is going to patient care and more and more of the money is being siphoned off by profit-driven companies.”