When compared to the rest of Canada, the Ontario government’s $4.8 billion underfunding for hospitals like Sault Area Hospital, means skeleton hospital staffing and much less care for Sault Ste. Marie patients; a report released today has found.
Based on the latest figures from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), Ontario funding for hospitals is $1,395.73 per capita. The rest of the country spends $1,749.68 per capita. In other words, provincial and territorial governments outside of Ontario spend $353.96 per person on hospitals than Ontario does. That’s a 25.3% more than Canada’s most populous province, the report says.
The report, The Fewer hands, Less Hospital Care shows that in Sault Ste. Marie, the funding shortfall equates to 83 less nurses, 248 less staff, providing care in the hospital.
“The $4.8 billion shortfall is hospital funding in Ontario is counted in 6 hours less nursing care per patient in our hospital” said Michael Hurley, President of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions. “Our hospitals have significantly higher readmission rates than the rest of the country because of our radically shortened lengths of stays”.
“This gap, has significant consequences for local communities and patients” says Hurley, “thousands of patients turned away from hospitals or sent home while still acutely ill and thousands more dying from hospital-acquired infections due in part to overcrowding”.
Average Ontario hospital funding for the population the size of Sault Ste. Marie in 2005/06 would have been about $3.59 million less than average community of the same size outside of Ontario. But by 2015/16 the funding shortfall for a city like Sault Ste. Marie would have exploded to $25.6 million.
“What’s so disturbing is that the provincial Liberals are proud of cutting hospital patient care. People are sent home sick. They are denied admittance because beds are overbooked.” says Hurley. He continues, “The people of Sault Ste. Marie are paying the price for Ontario’s lower hospital funding”.