HALIBURTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Aug. 27, 2015) - The view, recently expressed by management of the Haliburton Highlands Health Services (HHHS), that sites in Haliburton and Minden are not both sustainable, is the legacy of four years of deep provincial healthcare budget cuts, the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions said today.

"Citizens of communities like Haliburton and Minden, in a wealthy province of one of the richest nations in the world, have a right to expect that they will have a hospital. It is important that staff at the HHHS make a very clear statement that we will be working to achieve greater funding for the facility and fighting to keep both sites open," says Michael Hurley the president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU), the hospital division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

Ontario is in the fourth year of a five-year funding freeze for hospitals. This means cuts in real terms to care and services because hospitals need more than a 5% yearly funding increase to meet the rising costs of drugs and medical technologies, says Hurley who will be in Haliburton on Friday, August 28 for a 10 a.m. media conference in front of the hospital.

OCHU/CUPE is working with the Ontario Health Coalition to keep smaller community hospitals like Minden in Haliburton open. At Friday's media conference Hurley will announce the start of a campaign to ensure hospital and long-term care services are maintained at both HHHS campuses, in Minden Haliburton.

"The community is being asked to lower its expectations of accessible and comprehensive care at their local hospitals and told that the two site hospital is 'not sustainable'. This would not be happening if HHHS was not being starved of funds by the provincial Liberal government," Hurley notes.

Despite more than 14,000 total visits to the Minden hospital for the year, about 11,700 in Haliburton and two long-term care homes at full-bed capacity with a year waiting list for a bed, it appears that "we are not just faced with the prospect of losing hospital services in one or the other community. Rather there is the threat of closure of an emergency site, a long-term care home and potentially a hospital. We believe this is not an acceptable option for the two communities and we will fight it," says Hurley.

Contact Information:

Michael Hurley, President
Ontario Council of Hospital Unions
(416) 884-0770

Stella Yeadon
CUPE Communications
(416) 559-9300