ESPANOLA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 27, 2015) - The authors of a study that chronicled the experiences of hundreds of patients and their families with the province's health system, are in the Manitoulin area this week to provide an update on how northern patients are faring, following three straight years of provincial hospital cuts.

Media conference are scheduled for:

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - 9 a.m. in Espanola at the Royal Canadian Legion (upstairs), 370 Annette Street.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - 12 p.m. in Mindemoya at the Community Centre (downstairs), 6032 Hwy. 542.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - 2 p.m. in Little Current at the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 177, 15 Vankoughnet St. E.

Pushed Out of Northern Hospitals, Abandoned at Home: After Twenty Years of Budget Cuts, Ontario's Health System is Failing Patients, looks at the impact of the Liberal government's hospital funding policies on northern Ontario patients and hospitals. The original patient hotline report was released in 2014.

"Northern Ontario is harshly affected by hospital cutbacks, exacerbated by the challenges of geography and by poverty and underemployment," says Michael Hurley, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) president. He will be speaking at Wednesday's media conference along with Sharon Richer, a front-line northern Ontario hospital worker.

Sudbury District Health Unit data, which includes health information for the Sudbury/Manitoulin area, indicates greater rates of obesity, arthritis and high blood pressure than the Ontario average. The area population also experiences 20 per cent more deaths per 100,000 people, with significantly higher rates of death due to lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory diseases and suicide. Suicide is responsible for as many deaths within the catchment area, as breast or prostate cancer.

The data also shows that local residents are hospitalized much more frequently that the average Ontarian, and that there is a higher incidence of hospitalization due to injury.

Contact Information:

Michael Hurley
Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU)

Sharon Richer
OCHU, Regional Vice-President