Hospital Workers Plan Rally at KGH

About a thousand hospital staff from across the province will be in Kingston on Thursday for a rally calling for an end to Ontario's under funding of hospitals.

The noon hour protest, taking place on the Stuart Street side of Kingston General Hospital, is being organized by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

The group will meet at City Park at 11:30 a.m. and will march along Stuart Street to KGH where they will also protest the merging of Kingston Hospitals.

"We believe that the merger of Kingston's hospitals is designed to further cut beds and services, even though KGH has been without an available bed for up to 25 days in a row during the last year," says Michael Hurley president of CUPE's Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE.

"Like most Ontario hospitals, Kingston hospitals simply do not have enough beds and staffing capacity for the number of patients needing care."

According to CUPE, Ontario spends 25.3 per-cent less for hospitals than other provinces and has high re-admission rates, bed shortages, and six hours less nursing care per patient, compared to the rest of Canada.

"We are asking for an immediate end to the provincial funding cuts that are choking the life from Ontario hospitals," says CUPE President, Mark Hancock one of the rally's keynote speakers.