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June 2001
Letter to the Editors Re: CCAC Cutbacks



Dear Editors,


The conservative government’s policies on health care just get curiouser and curiouser.  First, it promised to reinvest money saved from restructuring hospitals in home care. Then it recognized that there is a severe staffing problem in community care due to low wages.  Recently Health Minister Clement promised to solve the emergency room problem, a problem which was identified in a coroner’s inquest as partially due to under funding and mismanagement of home care. Now the government has decided to freeze home care  funding at last years levels and allow no deficits.  This can only make the home care - emergency room - health care chaos worse.


The Kingston CCAC has taken the positive step of asking the community what we should  do about these new ministerial directives.  The Kingston Health Coalition met on June 7 and made a few recommendations.


First, if the province wants to centralize power and make decisions that threaten our communities, they should be the ones who have to say which patients will not get the care they need.  Our job, both the CCAC and the Kingston community, is to do our best to ensure that ill people have health care.  We should not let the government take the easy out by saying “we did not cut MRS. Jones home making, that was a decision of your local CCAC”.


Specifically, the Health Coalition recommends that the CCAC:


·                      start a public campaign to pressure the government to end the competitive bidding system, and increase home care funding to meet population need.


·                      not reduce services for financial reasons to any patients on the case load, or coming onto the case load;


·                      stop taking patients from the hospital unless the CCAC has the capacity to provide all the  services these patients need.  While this may be inconvenient for some patients and not their choice, but, in the hospital they are in a safe environment and receiving the medical and nursing care that they need;


·                      If the Minister continues to press for further cuts, demand that he make the decision on what services should be cut.  It would be irresponsible for  us to decrease  health services that are needed by patients.  We already deliver services below what is needed.



It is time we stopped being the fall guys for the governments actions.  They cut the funding.  They mandated competitive bidding.  Let them decide what necessary services should be cut.  Let’s see if they really have the nerve to make the hard decisions that are the consequence of their actions.


Yours sincerely,


Ross Sutherland, Co-Chair, Kingston Health Coalition