NDP: Libs must address hospital overcrowding crisis immediately


Horwath releases new internal documents showing extent of hospital crowding issues

QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath demanded Monday that the Wynne Liberals take immediate action to address the overcrowding and hallway medicine crisis in Ontario’s hospitals.

“Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Mississauga, Etobicoke, Brampton, Sick Kids and six additional hospitals in Toronto are all over capacity and dealing with the need to use ‘unconventional beds’,” said Horwath. “Let’s be clear, unconventional beds mean hallways and broom closets. These people and their families may be having the worst day of their lives – leaving them in a hallway for days is not right. It’s certainly not what’s best for them.”

Citing newly released internal documents obtained by the NDP through Freedom of Information laws that show the extent of the crisis, Horwath said that Wynne must begin undoing some of the damage she has done to our health care system by heeding the call from the Ontario Hospital Association to invest immediately to stave off a more acute crisis this winter. Horwath also called on the Wynne Liberals to match the NDP pledge to ensure that on an ongoing basis, hospitals will be funded at a minimum, to the cost of inflation, population growth and the unique needs of each of Ontario’s communities.

“The last Conservative government fired 6,000 nurses, closed 28 hospitals and slashed over 7,000 hospital beds and the Liberals have cut or frozen hospital budgets for years,” said Horwath. “Wynne is considering re-opening just 150 beds in Toronto that her government shut down. That’s not good enough.”

NDP documents show that acute care beds in the following hospitals were all well above 85 per cent capacity, considered by experts to be the maximum safe capacity, for much of 2017:

•             Trillium Health Partners, 3 Mississauga hospitals – as high as 109 per cent
•             Sick Kids, Toronto – as high as 107 per cent with mental health beds reaching as high as 136 per cent
•             Brampton Civic Hospital, Brampton – as high as 109 per cent with an average 12 ‘unconventional beds’ in use in January and February
•             Etobicoke General Hospital, Etobicoke – as high as 122 per cent
•             Toronto East Michael Garron Hospital, Toronto – as high as 106 per cent
•             University Health Network, 4 Toronto hospitals – as high as 98 per cent
•             Humber River Hospital, Toronto – as high as 97 per cent with 97 ‘unconventional beds’ used just during February

“It has become the new normal to hear horror stories of people waiting for days in emergency rooms and being treated on stretchers in hospital hallways with no privacy or dignity,” said Horwath. “Ontario families deserve better than this. It is possible, we can make sure that every single person in the province gets the health care they need, when and where they need. All we need is the political will.”