Hospitals in Ontario, Sudbury, overcrowded: group
Posted: April 28, 2017
(January 10, 2017)
By: Sudbury Star Staff
Hospitals in the province, including Health Sciences North in Sudbury, are bursting at the seams, the Ontario Health Coalition warned Tuesday.
In a release, the coalition said there are bed shortages across the province and blames lack of provincial funding for the problem.
“In Sudbury, Hamilton, and across all four hospitals in Quinte Health Care hospitals report they have been consistently running at more than 100 per cent capacity,” the coalition said in a release.
In Sudbury, Health Sciences North reported that are has 101 alternative-level-of-care patients at its Ramsey Lake Health Centre. ALCs patients, as they are called, are people waiting for a nursing home bed, but there isn’t one available, so they are sent to the hospital instead.
Problems have also been reported in Brantford, Durham, Ottawa and London, the group said.
“Hospitals are reporting that they have spent recent weeks, sometimes months, at rates of overcrowding that are extreme by any measure,” the coalition said. “Hospital officials are reporting that the same problems are occurring across the province. The hospital bed shortage is worse here in Ontario than anywhere in the country and comparable jurisdictions.”
While the rise in flu cases is partly to blame, the Ontario Health Coalition said there aren’t enough hospital beds in the province.
“The fact is that Ontario has the fewest hospital beds left per patient of anywhere in Canada, and Canada itself is near the bottom of the entire OECD list of countries,” said Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition.
“The bottom line is that no other jurisdiction plans to run its hospital system perpetually skirting the edge of crisis like Ontario does. There is not enough hospital bed capacity left in Ontario to deal with normal patient volumes let alone the annual holiday and winter virus season surge, and patients and front-line staff are paying the price.”
The coalition also said it is disturbed by reports patients have been told to stay away from their hospital unless their case is critical.
The coalition said Ontario has 2.3 hospital beds for every 1,000 population, while the average in the rest of Canada is 3.5. In Sudbury, Health Sciences North has 454 beds.
“The problem is not patients, it is the chronic shortage of beds,” said Sara Labelle, spokesperson for the Durham Health Coalition. “It is inappropriate and irresponsible to blame sick people for using their local hospitals.
“Our hospitals need proper levels of funding and we need to see that funding going to re-opening beds, expanding services and improving patient care.”