Windsor-Essex risks losing 394 hospital staff, 81 more beds under Ford government: CUPE

The union warns hospital bed shortages, hallway medicine and overcrowding will deepen in Windsor and Essex County under the Ford government.

Ministry of Health says numbers are purely speculative

A nurse at Windsor Regional Hospital attends to patient.

Hospitals in Windsor-Essex could lose up to 81 beds and more than 390 jobs, according to a report done by the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

The report — Hallway Medicine: It Can Be Fixed — stated it has crunched the numbers on key proposals from the provincial government.

The report suggests there is not enough money for hospitals in Ontario to provide efficient healthcare because the provincial government has committed to balancing the budget and scrapping programs like cap-and-trade — resulting in a loss of 48 to 81 more beds and between 180 and 394 jobs.

Ending hallway medicine impossible, says CUPE

The report examines the implications of Ford's promised $7 billion tax plan, balanced budget commitment and a 4 per cent public service "efficiency" program.

The report also considered the provincial's government's campaign promise to end the issue of so called hallway medicine, which CUPE believes is impossible to do because the lack of tax dollars.

CBC News reached out to Windsor Regional Hospital regarding CUPE's report, but officials did not want to comment. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

"When the baby boom generation was born, we accepted the responsibility for that. We built schools. We built universities. We met the challenges of the younger population, " said Michael Hurley, president of CUPE's hospital wing.

"Now, that generation is aging and the question is, are we going to be deterred by the costs of that?"

CUPE warns, after adding up the revenue and spending cuts across Ontario, 3,712 hospital beds and 16,418 hospital jobs could be cut to meet the target of a balanced budget.

Hurley also weighed in on the location of Windsor's new mega-hospital, saying it will be inaccessible for seniors and people who need public transport to get around.

Cause for concern or simple speculation?

The union's report has people like Cherlynn Thrasher concerned for her well-being in the future. She said she would rather pay higher taxes if it improves efficiencies in the healthcare system.

"I'm really worried myself. I'm a senior [in] fairly good health, but anything can happen. The nurses try to do what they can but there's not enough of them. They don't have what they need to do what they need, and it's only getting worse," said Thrasher.

Cherlynn Thrasher says she would rather pay higher taxes if it resulted in a more efficient healthcare system. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

In a statement to CBC News, The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care said it is not aware of any staffing or service reductions at hospitals in Windsor, adding CUPE is speculating on potential job and bed losses.

"The ministry is unable to confirm any of the numbers suggested in the report. The ministry is committed to an efficient, sustainable, hospital system that ensures patients receive timely access to quality health care."

Officials at Windsor Regional Hospital refused CBC News' request for comment.

with files from Joanne Chianello and the Canadian Press