President of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, Michael Hurley says the North Bay Regional Health Centre is playing a rigged budget game that it will never win. Hurley says that’s because the province isn’t funding the hospital at a sustainable level. He added that’s despite the fact they’ve have to eliminate more than 350 staff and cut care, beds and services over the past five years.

When Hurley visited North Bay last summer, he said if the North Bay Regional Health Centre were in any other province in Canada they’d be way over funded. But in Ontario? He says they are severely underfunded and as a result you get the news like we got this week. According to Canadian Institute for Health Information data, Ontario spends 25.3 per cent less than the rest of Canada on hospital care. Provincial funding would have to increase by $23-million a year for the hospital just to reach the average hospital funding level in the rest of the country.

Hurley says the Ontario government needs to stop the cycle of staff and service cuts at the North Bay Regional Health Centre. He says to do that they need to inject a real funding increase into the hospital’s budget in 2017. Hurley has called on Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli to get vocal at Queen’s Park so the government delivers on the additional funding the hospital needs.