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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 April 22 - May 12  > 128,000 signatures submitted to put stop to gov’t hospital downsizing plan during corona crisis
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2020 April 22 - May 12 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

128,000 signatures submitted to put stop to gov’t hospital downsizing plan during corona crisis

April 23, 2020
A group consisting of labor unions and civil organizations working for better social welfare programs on April 22 submitted to the Health Ministry 128,000 signatures calling for the cancellation of the ministry’s plan to slash the number of public hospitals. The group also petitioned the ministry to implement measures that support frontline health workers dedicated to the fight against COVID-19.

In the petitioning, National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) Vice President Iwahashi Yuji pointed out that even after a state of emergency was declared in an effort to prevent a health care collapse, the Health Ministry still maintains its intent to move forward with its downsizing plan targeting public hospitals, and said, “This move will threaten the continuance of the heroic efforts of frontline health workers.” Iwahashi went on to say that in preparation for discussions on measures to cope with the next phase of the virus spread, the ministry should withdraw its intent to close or downsize targeted public hospitals.

The group reported the opinions of frontline health workers such as, “I receive from my hospital only one face mask every two weeks,” and “The Abe government should review its anti-corona policy by following the example of countries which have succeeded in properly preparing their medical systems to fight the coronavirus based on lessons learned from the previous outbreaks of SARS and MERS,” and “The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has illuminated the error of the government policy of reducing hospital beds only from the profitability standpoint.”

Past related articles:
> COVID-19 crisis highlights mistake of gov’t policy to cut medical spending: Medical workers’ union [April 8, 2020]
> Welfare Ministry’s cutback list includes designated infectious disease medical institutions [February 27, 2020]
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