OPSEU says save Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital: Ontario FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Wed, 27 May 1998 16:18:15 -0700 (PDT)

FWD  Press Release - Ontario Public Service Employees Union
     CC Rplies to Ken Patience <Ken.Patience@opseu.tor250.org>

May 20,1998
                        "OPSEU says Minister Witmer must save HPH"

HAMILTON - OPSEU will continue to fight to keep Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital
open said union President Leah Casselman. She was responding to the final
directions for Hamilton Wentworth, issued today by the Health Services
restructering Commission.

"The Hamilton community is gainst the closure of HPH. thousands of
people have signed a petition asking the government to set aside plans to
divest or close HPH," said Casselman. "We'll be taking our concerns to
minister Witmer, who must now make her decision."

The Health Services Restructering Commission does not have jurisdiction to
close provincial psychiatric hospitals. Decisions about the fate of these
hospitals rest with the Minister of Health.

"Once again the Commission has shown its disregard for the most vulnerable
members in our community," said Marjorie Martin, president of OPSEU Local 203,
which represents more than 600 workers at Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital.
"Closing HPH will create more homelessness, as people suffering with serious
mental illness are pushed out onto uncaring streets. This is not about people
and the services they should get. The restructering commission has made its
recommendation for HPH, but the people in the community have had no input into
this decision."

The Commission is recommending that investments to be made in the community
before beds are closed.

"This is a joke", said Martin. "Beds are being closed as we speak.
the government says it will invest in community support services, but their
announcement last month of $15 million is only a drop in the bucket. The
government's own advisory committee on mental health estimates that at least
$400 million is needed in start up funding for community supports before more
beds are closed."

| Ontario                    Ken.Patience@opseu.tor250.org
|    Public
|       Service
|          Employees
|             Union


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