Kingstonians have their say about hospital care

Kingston, ON, Canada / CKWS TV

Kingston – A new health care poll is giving Kingstonians a chance to have their say about hospital care and cutbacks.  The survey was done by CUPE, which represents about 14-hundred workers at Kingston General Hospital.  The poll was conducted in response to the pending merger of management and operations at KGH and Hotel Dieu.

Ever since Kingston General and Hotel Dieu announced in June that they would be combining services under a single board and CEO, Mike Rodrigures has feared the move could lead to job loss and cuts to patient services.

Mike Rodrigues, President CUPE 1974
“What we’ve seen in the past if you look at Niagara or Windsor mergers equal service cuts and bed cuts and people do not want that in their own community.”

The union recently conducted a poll of 700 Kingston residents – asking questions like how important is your community hospital and do you support cutting care and beds?  The results, perhaps not surprisingly — 86-percent of Kingstonians are against cuts and 92-percent support hospital funding.

Mike Rodrigues, President CUPE 1974
“I think that if this poll is expanded the numbers would increase to people saying no we don’t want changes here. It was a small number but with these numbers it shows the Ontario government keep your hands off our services we pay for them we want them.”

“This is not about cut, this is about improving patient care at the two institutions.”

That’s Jim Flett.  The interim CEO at KGH says the integration will actually provide better patient care.

Jim Flett/ Interim CEO, KGH
“Collectively we’re an academic health sciences and as one institution we can be more seem less going back and forth and moving forward to address the challenges of the future.”

Challenges like hospital funding.  According to Flett – once the two hospitals operate under a single management — they will be able to better compete for funding, new programs and talent.

Jim Flett, Interim CEO, KGH
“When you put us together we’re very competitive and very comparable to other academic health science centres so on the funding side we will look much more approachable.”

Even though the names won’t change — the integration should be in place by April 2017.  Meantime the hospital plans to conduct its own community engagement – with a survey and a number of different sessions – to learn what exactly the community wants and what expectations they have about the merger.

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