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Sudbury hospital's money problems not unique

Sudbury residents have been wishing and hoping to hear about a pocketful of cash from the province to finish Phase Two of Sudbury Regional Hospital.
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Sudbury residents have been wishing and hoping to hear about a pocketful of cash from the province to finish Phase Two of Sudbury Regional Hospital.

Graham Scott, the man appointed by the province to find a solution the SRH's money problems, said last month he thought an announcement would be coming sooner rather than later.

The application for funds is taking longer than he expect, he says. As well, Minister of Health Tony Clement is on holidays.

SRH faces a $32 million operating deficit and construction costs for the expanded hospital at the Laurentian site have doubled from an estimated $160 million to $366 million.

However, SRH is not the only Ontario hospital to have money problems. A large number of Ontario hospitals may be forced to make significant service and staff cuts this fall due to lack in provincial funding, says a new survey from the Ontario Hospital Association.

The OHA informed the provincial government Ontario hospitals would require an additional $900 million in operating funding for 2003/04 to maintain current levels of services. This figure did not include the extra costs associated with dealing with SARS.

The province announced $500 million for hospitals in the Ontario 2003 budget, leaving a $400 shortfall.

The OHA survey found 40 per cent of hospitals may not be able to meet weekly payrolls, half were considering staff layoffs, and 2,600 beds would have to be closed without additional funding.

"The survey results confirm that patient care in Ontario is at risk," says Hilary Short, OHA president and CEO.

"At a time when patient care needs are at an all-time high, hospitals face no choice but to cut patient care services and staffing due to the lack of funding."






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