[Fwd: Press release]

Judy Olsen (wholepie@speakeasy.org)
Wed, 03 Feb 1999 06:06:46 -0800

Thought you Canadians would want to see how labor unions are reporting this
Judy O

Ken Patience wrote:

>  January 26, 1999
> Pysch patients at risk with transfer of services
> Hamilton OPSEU President Leah Casselman today called for a
> moratorium on the closing of all psychiatric facilities in the
> province of Ontario. Casselman was responding to Health Minister
>  Witmer's announcement of the closure of Hamilton Psychiatric
> Hospital and transfer of psychiatric services to St. Joseph's
> Hospital.
> "Ontario's psychiatric hospitals are recognized worldwide for their
> professional staff and for their delivery of specialized care," said
> Casselman. "Hamilton Psych in particular, recently won the American
> Psychiatric Association's Gold Award of Excellence. We cannot afford
> to lose a facility of this calibre."
> The move into an acute care hospital like St. Joseph's, workers and
> patient advocates say, could be devastating for patients who are
> seriously mentally ill. "This government has absolutely no sense of
> the needs of this patient population," says Marjorie Martin,
> President of OPSEU Local 203, which represents more than 600 HPH
> staff. "They need space, they need an environment that has the
> comforts of home. Dumping them into a busy, downtown acute care
> hospital poses grave risks for these patients."
> Hamilton Psychiatric was one of six hospitals cited for closure by
> the Health Services Restructuring Commission. Last week the minister
> announced a five-year reprieve for Psych hospitals in London and St.
> Thomas. "They realized that the community supports were just not
> there," says Marjorie, "and we know they're not there in Hamilton
> either."
> "To move psych patients downtown is to bring them one step closer to
> the streets and the jails," says Casselman. "They deserve facilities
> they can call their own, and the government has an obligation to
> provide them. The possibility of even one Psych Hospital being
> closed is one too many."
>             Contact: Marjorie Martin, 905.972.4355 (pager), Ellen Gardner,
>             416.932.0004
> --
> | Ontario                    Ken.Patience@opseu.tor250.org
> |    Public
> |       Service
> |          Employees
> |             Union
> --