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Cornwall Cancels Care: too may 'bed blockers' or too many cuts?

Cornwall Community Hospital is canceling surgeries due to a bed shortage.  As usual, the spin is there are too many alternate level of care (ALC) patients convalescing in the hospital. 

Nobody, however, flags the rather more relevant fact that there has been a huge reduction in hospital beds in Cornwall.  In 1995/96, there were 207 acute beds in Cornwall; by 1997-98 that had been cut back to 148.  The Health Services Restructuring Commission ('HSRC'--the grim reaper of hospital servicies during the Harris government) planned to cut that further to 129 by 2003.

But now, there are only 94 acute care beds in Cornwall.

It's the same story if you look at the total number of hospital beds in Cornwall (i.e. including rehabilitation beds, mental health beds, and other non-acute services). The numbers shrank from 366 in 1995/96 to 255 in 1997/8. Although the HSRC plan was to bring back fifteen of the lost beds, what actually happened was that by 2009 the level had fallen to only 168 beds.  And earlier this year, under pressure from the provincial government, the hospital announced plans to cut 18 rehab and mental health beds, along with 5,000 ambulatory care visits. 

So, I, for one, am not too surprised that they are cancelling surgeries.  Is anyone really?

dallan@cupe.ca

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