ST. CATHARINES, ON – After yesterday’s announcement of the 35th death of a Niagara hospital patient from “superbug” outbreak-related infections, the Communist candidate for St. Catharines, Saleh Waziruddin, is calling on all candidates in the four Niagara ridings to publicly commit to restoring hospital staffing, beds, and services to prevent further loss of life. At an all-candidates meeting on Tuesday, September, 20th, hosted by the Niagara Health Coalition and the Retired Teachers of Ontario, Saleh was the only candidate to argue that elected officials should be held accountable for these deaths as they were predicted by nurses and unions and so were preventable.
Saleh explains “although the Niagara Health System chief of staff has said the outbreak is nearing its end, and news reports say only 12 infected patients remain isolated at the St. Catharines General Hospital, the underlying cause of the outbreaks remains a danger to the lives of Niagarans. Cuts in staff, beds, and services make for dangerous conditions and don’t allow for enough time or resources to properly clean rooms before patients move in. Our elected officials have been warned about this, including on April 28th by the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions as well as by individual hospital staff, yet the cuts have not been restored.”
According to a July 21 report by the Ontario Health Coalition, Ontario’s hospital bed occupancy rate of 97.8% is among the lowest in the industrialized world, and the UK Department of Health has set a target of 82%. Saleh is calling for an occupancy target of 80% and is asking all Niagara candidates to commit to occupancy of not more than 82% as “the high occupancy rates make it difficult to prevent infections and ‘terminally clean’ hospital rooms.” Giving a “terminal clean” to each affected room is the 1st Environmental Services recommendation of the June 29th report by the Infection Control Resource Team.
The Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) calls for fully funding hospitals based on patient needs and not on reduced public services that are the result of corporate-tax giveaways. Ontario’s public spending and beds per patient are among the lowest of Canadian provinces. The Communist Party says this is the result of putting corporate greed, in the form of one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the industrial world, ahead of peoples needs. Saleh argues “low corporate taxes have only resulted in record profits and not new good jobs. Corporations should be made to pay their fair share instead of Niagarans paying the price for corporate greed with our lives. Instead of contracting out cleaning, where part of the hospital budget goes to private profits, hospitals must be 100% public so all dollars can go to patient care.”
Contact: Saleh Waziruddin
905 394 0029
Platform at www.votecommunist.ca
Campaign blog: http://niagaracommunists.blogspot.com