“Treatment Chairs” at Sault Area Hospital


During the 2018 Ontario election, Doug Ford’s PC Party said they would end hallway healthcare and it has only worsened. On Friday, Ford said the Ontario government made “tremendous” progress in reducing hallway healthcare. However, a recent CBC investigation showed an average of 997 people treated per day in non-hospital rooms such as hallways and kitchens. 

“After two years of the Ford government, we’ve seen hallway medicine go from bad to worse, and people are suffering,” Andrea Horwath NDP leader said in a statement.

Health Minister Christine Elliott’s spokesperson said hallway healthcare started declining under the Ford government. 

The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) asked the Ford government to increase the funding needed to stop overcrowding. CEO Anthony Dale of the OHA requested $922 million in additional funding, which is a 4.85% increase.

Ontario has the lowest per capita healthcare spending of all the Canadian provinces and territories. An OHA report showed that to match the average per capita spending, Ontario needs to spend another $4 billion per year on hospital care. 

“The key message here, relative to much of what I’ve been reading online, is every patient (at SAH) has been in an appropriate care space, and that’s something to be celebrated in our community, but there’s lots of work to be done,” Wendy Hansson CEO and President of Sault Area Hospital (SAH)

This is an interesting quote from Wendy Hansson. If everyone “has been in an appropriate care space” then what work is there to be done? Should we celebrate hallway healthcare?

Hallway healthcare is a major concern at SAH. Instead of calling it what it is, which is hallway healthcare. Sue Rogers, Interim Vice President Clinical Operations & Chief Nursing Executive, renamed the hallway healthcare to “treatment chairs” in a recent story from another local media outlet. “Treatment chairs” constitute an “appropriate care space” at SAH. 

What is the Ford government doing to reduce hallway healthcare? The solution put forward was 15,000 planned new long-term care beds to help prevent “treatment chairs” or hallway healthcare. As many people in hospitals need long-term care beds and there is a shortage. Leaving those people taking up hospital space when they are better served in a long-term care environment.

Ontarians and Saultites would be better served if everyone called hallway healthcare what it is, which is hallway healthcare not “treatment chairs.” If the SAH wants to get serious with the Ford government about increased funding as suggested by the OHA. Call it hallway healthcare or hallway medicine because people know what is being talked about. All Saultites need to pressure both SAH and the Ontario government to end hallway healthcare. 

Doug Ford promised to end hallway healthcare, now it is time to keep that promise.


  1. “Saultites need to pressure both SAH and the Ontario government to end hallway healthcare” – As though we haven’t been trying for a long long time but are simply ignored. Many politicians have promised health care improvements before Doug Ford and none of them have delivered either.

  2. I’m actually an advocate for the treatment chairs specifically in the emergency area. I was recently at the emergency department and after been treated I was moved to a treatment chair while awaiting test results. There was no need for me to be taking up a room. I also found this to be more comfortable. While I do find it necessary for reporting to hold organizations accountable I must say this reporter Christofer to be narrow minded in his criticism of the hospital. Thank you Sault Area Hospital for everything you do.

      • I remember my father taking me into the ER at Kingston General Hospital in 1969 and while I awaited the doctor I could lie down on the bench seating in the ER. Yes, I was that sick. Now, there is absolutely no way that a very sick person could lie down in the waiting room unless they slumped onto the floor. Surely a very weak person should be entitled to a bed not a treatment chair whether awaiting test results or not.

  3. To many layers of management at the SAH. How many layers have been added since it opened its doors, and when they get new money they don’t spend it all on hiring more nurses or doctors they create new management layers. Gov. should monitor and legislate how many layers and management personal are on staff at all times. If the CEO can’t do it replace them

  4. Apparently I was very lucky, in 2016, to have been admitted and treated in an actual patient care room. However, during my 2-week stay the PSWs were eliminated from the care protocol, and reassigned to either Housekeeping or Dietary.
    I understand the need to maintain efficiencies, but underfunding is not efficient.

  5. This isn’t new news here. We’re use to paying the highest taxes and getting less for it. What is wrong with the elected people in this province. All these up front promises, only to be thwarted after they are in office.

Comments are closed.