Hospital continues to face challenges

by Terry Myers

The Deep River and District Hospital continues to face challenges in its efforts to maintain local services in the face of provincial funding restraints.

But dealing with those challenges may also be causing frayed nerves and raw feelings among at least some hospital staff. 

Ann Kelly, president of local 476 of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), contacted the NRT recently to raise concerns about some of the steps the hospital is planning, including the introduction of paid parking.

The hospital announced the move to paid parking on site earlier this spring, although no date has been set yet for it to be implemented.

In a statement released in March, the hospital said the goal of the move is “preserving our ability to provide exceptional care.”

“The implementation of parking fees is intended to support operations and capital needs of the health campus and to provide funding to maintain the parking lot.

“With inflation and an aging and growing population, parts of the system, especially hospitals, will continue to face pressure to do more with less.”

But Kelly said paid parking will also apply to hospital staff, effectively taking away any wage increases staff have received.

Kelly said that over the last four years, OPSEU members have got “very little” in wage negotiations.

“Anything we did get is (now) going back to parking,” she said.

“Really, who’s paying the bill for it?”

> for more on this story, pick up a copy of the May 31 North Renfrew Times…