Skip to main content

ALC hospital beds: Is Ontario making any progress?

In November 2007, there were 4,528 "ALC "or alternative level of care patients (i.e. patients waiting for a different sort of care while they are in a hospital bed, usually long term care, hospital rehabilitation care, hospital complex continuing care, or, in some cases, home care).  By April 2011 there were 4,256, a decline of 6%, or 272 patients (although there was also a decline in the number of hospital beds reported ).

The decline is significant but quite modest.  Especially when you consider that the numbers did not always decline over that period.  The numbers dipped each spring since 2007 and rose at other times. Only a few months previous to April 2011, the ALC count was much higher:: 4,748 in January 2011. That's 220 more than November 2007, a 4.9% increase.   And from November 2007 to November 2010, the number of ALC patients increased 111, or 2.5%

So there are legitimate questions about the government's main ALC strategy -- Aging at Home, which was announced August 2007.  Which is not to say that the projects funded by Aging at Home are a waste.  Certainly, some things sound like they make sense:  the 'Home First' strategy started last summer which provides enhanced home care services (up to six hours a day) for the first 60 days after patient leaves a hospital for one.  The modest expansion of hospital rehabilitation services announced by the Central LHIN for another.

But much more needs to be done if we are going to reduce the health care rationing that is at the heart of making people wait for services.


Popular posts from this blog

Public sector employment in Ontario is far below the rest of Canada

The suggestion that Ontario has a deficit because its public sector is too large does not bear scrutiny. Consider the following. 

Public sector employment has fallen in the last three quarters in Ontario.  Since 2011, public sector employment has been pretty flat, with employment up less than 4 tenths of one percent in the first half of 2015 compared with the first half of 2011.

This contrasts with public sector employment outside of Ontario which has gone up pretty consistently and is now 4.7% higher than it was in the first half of 2011.

Private sector employment has also gone up consistently over that period. In Ontario, it has increased 4.3% since the first half of 2011, while in Canada as a whole it has increased 4.9%.

As a result, public sector employment in Ontario is now shrinking as a percentage of the private sector workforce.  In contrast, in the rest of Canada, it is increasing. Moreover, public sector employment is muchhigher in the rest of Canada than in Ontario.  Indeed as…

The long series of failures of private clinics in Ontario

For many years, OCHU/CUPE has been concerned the Ontario government would transfer public hospital surgeries, procedures and diagnostic tests to private clinics. CUPE began campaigning in earnest against this possibility in the spring of 2007 with a tour of the province by former British Health Secretary, Frank Dobson, who talked about the disastrous British experience with private surgical clinics.

The door opened years ago with the introduction of fee-for-service hospital funding (sometimes called Quality Based Funding). Then in the fall of 2013 the government announced regulatory changes to facilitate this privatization. The government announced Request for Proposals for the summer of 2014 to expand the role of "Independent Health Facilities" (IHFs). 

With mass campaigns to stop the private clinic expansion by the Ontario Health Coalition the process slowed.  

But it seems the provincial Liberal government continues to push the idea.  Following a recent second OCHU tour wi…

Hospital worker sick leave: too much or too little?

Ontario hospital workers are muchless absent due to illness or disability than hospital workers Canada-wide.  In 2014, Ontario hospital workers were absent 10.2 days due to illness or disability, 2.9 days less than the Canada wide average – i.e. 22% less.  In fact, Ontario hospital workers have had consistently fewer sick days for years.

This is also true if absences due to family or personal responsibilities are included.
Statistics Canada data for the last fifteen years for Canada and Ontario are reported in the chart below, showing Ontario hospital workers are consistently off work less.
Assuming, Ontario accounts for about 38% of the Canada-wide hospital workforce, these figures suggest that the days lost due to illness of injury in Canada excluding Ontario are about 13.6 days per year ([13.6 x 0.68] + [10.2 x 0.38] = 13.1).

In other words, hospital workers in the rest of Canada are absent from work due to illness or disability 1/3 more than Ontario hospital workers. 

In fact, Canad…