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Sudbury hospital funding announcement less than it appears. Northumberland hospital facing new threats.

Local Liberal MPP Rick Bartolucci announced an extra $4.9 million for Sudbury Regional Hospital last week.  (The Liberal MPPs often seem to be able to free up their schedules for these cash announcements.) 

In fact, most of the money ($4 million) is just the 1.5% base hospital funding increase that was announced five months ago in the provincial budget.  (Although there are now reports that some hospitals won't even get that.)   I have yet to hear anyone suggest that 1.5% will cover hospital inflation costs. So this isn't much of an announcement. 

And the rest of the cash? Well there's some to make up for costs associated with last year's H1N1 epidemic ($60,000 -- whoppee) and $500,000 to cover extra operating costs associated with moving into a new facility.  More encouragingly, there was $400,000 for new neurosurgical procedures.

We are now five months into the  province's fiscal year, and we are only now beginning to hear a little bit of information on this year's funding for specific hospitals.

And the cuts keep coming.  There are now new plans to remove 23 'alternate level of care' and 'complex continuing care' beds from Nothumberland Hills Hospital.  The plan is to replace them with 16 'restorative' beds.  That's a net loss of 7 beds with some staff cuts.  Plans from earlier this year to remove 26 beds were put on hold following restructuring problems and a spirited community campaign. But officials want to move with this  new plan by March.

I guess we shouldn't be surprised that Lou Rinaldi, the Liberal MPP for Northumberland, DID NOT announce these cuts.  But make no mistake --  as the local government official, he is responsible.

dallan@cupe.ca

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