LONDON, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 24, 2015) - With tens of millions of dollars in hospital cuts happening across Southwestern Ontario, this Friday, hundreds are expected to converge in London with a strong message for Ontario's provincial government to stop the severe cuts to local hospitals. This year, London's hospitals will have to make $32 million in cuts. Hospital departments such as vascular cardiology, mental health, intensive care, oncology, stroke rehabilitation, and others are being cut at St. Joseph's and London Health Sciences Centre. Since 2012, more than 475,000 hours per year of hands-on nursing care have been cut across the region. In addition 194,000 more hours of care per year are on the chopping block at LHSC.

Across the Southwest region, smaller and rural community hospitals have suffered devastating cuts to beds, staff and services. Complex continuing care beds have been cut from Woodstock, Tillsonburg, St. Thomas, Exeter, Listowel and Wingham, placing even more pressure on London's overstretched hospitals. The Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance has cut almost 1 in every 10 of the remaining beds. Wallaceburg has seen its services gutted. Petrolia lost key services this winter, and Sarnia is facing cuts. Kitchener-Waterloo is facing cuts, Leamington and Chatham both have experienced significant cuts and the list goes on.

The decision-makers in the provincial government must answer for their decisions to cut hospitals. We are in the fourth year in a row of a 0% funding increase for hospital global budgets. In real-dollar terms (inflation-adjusted dollars) this is more than a 10% cut. The gap between funding received and the cost to provide care is getting bigger every year and as a result Ontario's hospitals cannot maintain their levels of services. All the large town hospitals such as London, Windsor, Kitchener and Sarnia are running at dangerous levels of overcrowding, emergency rooms are back-logged and patients are waiting on stretchers in hallways because too many beds have been cut.

Visual: Hundreds of red balloons will be signed with messages directed at Cabinet Minister Deb Matthews and the Liberal government. There will be hundreds in attendance from across the region with banners, signs and noisemakers. There will be a parade of cuts, where all the hospital cuts in London and the surrounding region will be displayed visually in a procession.
What: Southwestern Ontario Day of Action to Stop Hospital Cuts and Hospital & Home Care Privatization.
When & Where: Friday June 26
12 p.m., Rally at Cabinet Minister Deb Matthews' office, 242 Piccadilly St. London.

Contact Information:

Natalie Mehra
Executive Director
Ontario Health Coalition
416-230-6402 (cell)

Kim Johnston
Campaign Director
Ontario Health Coalition
647-381-7025 (cell)