A vigil was held Monday outside of MPP Vic Fedeli’s water-soaked office a week after the Canadian Union of Employees (CUPE) and Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) announced the cutting of 29 residential treatment beds.
“This kind of a cut is so incomprehensible,” Michael Hurley, the president of OCHU said at the vigil. “The staff at the hospital will wear stickers to keep it open, and we will have an electronic town hall over a conference call as well.”
The announcement by OCHU/CUPE said that the 29 beds were going to go from having an in-residence phase, to outpatient treatment at the hospital.
“Our government spent more money in healthcare than any other government ever in Ontario,” Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli said. “This is a huge investment in mental health and addictions. We’re investing $3.8 billion. This is all new money.”
“The community was asked to put a plan together,” Fedeli continued. “Anybody remotely connected to mental health got together and developed what they wanted and they don’t want it at the hospital, they want it in a different facility. We told them that we would do exactly what they asked and that’s what’s underway.”
“What we understand is that residential treatment beds are being replaced by outpatient services,” Hurley said. “The success rate of outpatient treatment programs is considerably less than a residential treatment program, especially for those who are acutely addicted. You can’t replace residential addiction alcohol treatment with transition beds.”
“There needs to be transition beds as people transition into the community,” Hurley continued. “For people to get clean, that’s another problem. It’s unbelievable to me that a community of this size, with the problems here in terms of addiction and alcoholism, would not have residential addiction, alcohol treatment to people who desperately need it.”