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Ontario set to sell Thornhill hospital to private for-profit US-based conglomerate

Sale directly opposes strategy outlined in province's Action Plan for Health Care.

Seidman-Carlson: Now is the time for the Minister to put words into action.TORONTO, ON, September 24, 2012: Ontario nursing professionals are calling on the Health Minister to reject the proposed sale of Shouldice Hospital to a large for-profit conglomerate.

Members of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) have consistently called on governments of all political stripes to affirm their commitment to the Canada Health Act and the fundamental principle of a single-tier, not-for-profit health care system.

That's why RNAO is asking its members to write to Health Minister Deb Matthews to block the proposed sale of Shouldice Hospital, which is based in Thornhill. Centric Health, a rapidly growing health products company, recently announced its intention to purchase the hospital, well-known for the treatment of hernias. Centric is controlled by US-based Global Healthcare Investments and Solutions (GHIS), one of the largest private, for-profit health care companies in the world.

  "Ontarians do not need care that cuts corners to maximize returns for shareholders."

Shouldice Hospital is family-founded and operated, predating the Canada Health Act. That's why it was "grand-parented" when the act came into effect in 1984 but subject to the understanding that clinics and hospitals in Ontario must be publicly-funded and not-for-profit.

RNAO's Chief Executive Officer Doris Grinspun says more than 1,000 nurses have already written letters protesting the sale. "Ontarians do not need care that cuts corners to maximize returns for shareholders, or companies that provide faster access for those who can afford it while leaving others behind in the queue. This is not only wrong; it is totally unconscionable and unacceptable."

"The Minister has made it clear she wants to shift more procedures out of hospital and into not-for-profit community-based clinics. This principle is outlined in the government's Action Plan for Health Care," says Rhonda Seidman-Carlson, president of RNAO, adding that "now is the Minister's time to put words into action."

Seidman-Carlson says there are examples of non-profit community clinics such as Toronto's Kensington Eye Institute, which provides high-quality eye care through Ontario's Health Insurance Plan. "We urge the Minister to block this sale and commit to the delivery of health services on a not-for-profit basis."

Links and sources
  Ontario's top professional nursing organization asks Health Minister to reject sale of Shouldice Hospital to for-profit US conglomerate

Posted: October 04, 2012

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