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Northumberland Hills Hospital union want local MPP to do more for facility

By Cam Kennedy [1]

BELLEVILLE – Northumberland-Quinte West MPP Lou Rinaldi [2] is facing criticism from staff at Northumberland Hills Hospital [3] in Cobourg.

It stems from Rinaldi’s silence toward cuts at the facility and the criticism comes right before the provincial government is set to release its budget.

“We want him to call for an increase to hospital funding and a stop to the hospital cuts,” said Alice Cunnington, local president for the Canadian Union of Public Employees [4].

Cunnington also said Rinaldi also needs to consider people who may live outside the community but rely on the hospital’s services.

“Mr. Rinaldi also has an obligation to ensure Ontarians driving our stretch of the 401 have access to a well-staffed hospital, ready to provide all-manner of care in a medical emergency.”

NHH is the only hospital between Bowmanville and Trenton along the 401 corridor. Cunnington said that if a collision happens in that area, “it is our hospital that deals with the people injured. Medical emergency care and the ability to admit patients are important.”

Since 2013, Northumberland’s hospital has lost more than 15 per cent of its budget, according to Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions [5].

This comes at a time when the area’s population is “growing and is aging and demanding more acute hospital care,” he said.

Cunnington and other staff working at Northumberland Hills are looking to meet with Rinaldi to talk about what can be done.

“We can want him to commit to keep hospital surgeries, beds and labs open,” Cunnington said. “We want him to tell the health and finance ministers that funding for Ontario hospitals must go up or patients’ lives will be put at risk.”