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Report details cuts to Wallaceburg hospital

Posted: May 4, 2016

(May 4, 2016)

Author: Wallaceburg Courier Press

When it comes to cuts to  hospital nursing care and hospital beds in Canada, Ontario leads the way.

That was the conclusion of an Ontario Health Coalition report that was released last month.

The report, ‘Beyond Limits: Ontario’s Deepening Hospital Cuts Crisis’, says cuts to community hospital care are a result of eight consecutive years of global funding for the province’s hospitals.

The report says Ontario’s community hospitals are lagging behind virtually all other provinces in every reasonable measure of hospital funding. The coalition’s report includes an updated list tracking hospital service and staffing cuts in every region of the province for the last four years.

Outlined in the report are cuts to Wallaceburg’s Sydenham District Hospital, which, according to the report include:

Cuts Reported in 2016

· Proposed closure of emergency department proposed in order to target a $1.8 million budget deficit.
Cuts Reported in 2013

· 22 full-time positions to be cut in an attempt to balance the budget.

Cuts Reported in 2012

· Closure of the entire 10 bed complex continuing care unit and the laboratory.

· At the time, the hospital promised to offset these cuts by adding beds at the Chatham-Kent site, but this never materialized.

· The hospital has been gutted by cuts over the years. It has five beds remaining.

The Ontario Health Coalition said the provincial government has cut hospitals’ global budgets in real-dollar terms for eight years in a row. The report also says Ontario has the fewest hospital beds left of all provinces in Canada, and lags far below the other provinces.

The report also says Ontario has the highest hospital readmission rates in Canada, and they are rising.

“By every reasonable measure, Ontario’s hospital funding levels are at or near the bottom of the country and far from the average of the other provinces,” the report says.

The report said cuts are resulting a crisis of overcrowding; cancelled surgeries because there are no beds; too-early discharges; high re-admission rates; infections; violence; ambulance delays; understaffing; and compromised safety for patients and staff.

“Small and rural hospitals are being eviscerated despite all evidence regarding community need. The fact that staffing and funding are being cut to unsafe levels without any reasonable benchmarks shows just how far beyond any limits Ontario’s hospital cuts have gone,” said Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition. “This issue should be considered the serious crisis that it truly is, by our policy makers.”

Student interns from Ryerson University’s nursing program, Patricia Julian and Celine Yu helped to research and compile the list of cuts

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