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Home care in Hamilton and Niagara facing cuts. Hospital back-ups feared

The Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Community Care Access Centre has run up a $5 million deficit so far this year.  If it doesn't make significant cuts, the shortfall will grow to between $10 million and $12 million by March 31, the end of the fiscal year, according to the Hamilton Spectator.

To cut costs, new patients needing more than 60 hours of home care a month will have to stay in hospital on indefinite waiting lists. New home care clients will get only one bath a week unless they are incontinent and those at low risk will face wait lists for services. Other patients will be sent to community nursing clinics for care instead of having home care come to them.

Hospitals worry the result will be backlogs, particularly in the emergency department. "It impacts the whole system from end to end," said Mary MacLeod, vice-president of patient services at Burlington's Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital.

The Ontario Minister of Health, Deb Matthews has claimed that increases in community care services (e.g.home care) mean that the cuts in hospital services are not so bad. 

Can she still claim that?

dallan@cupe.ca

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