Skip to main content

Public deserves reliable reports on superbug deaths

St. Catharines General Hospital has had three more patients with the C. Difficile die.  This brings the total to eight patients who have died. Since the outbreak was declared May 28, there has been 29 patient cases diagnosed, according to the Niagara This Week.   

Anne Atkinson, vice-president of patient services for the NHS, said the patients' deaths will be reviewed to determine the role C. Difficile played (or didn't play) in the death: was  it the cause of death, a contributing factor, or was the death unrelated to C. Difficile.  The regional coroner is also being notified of all deaths as is the Region's public health department.

Well this is interesting.  OCHU calls for the government to require hospitals to report this  information to the public, and in particular deaths of people infected with superbugs.  

So far the government refuses.  Judging by the claims made by St. Catharines General, however, this information can be and is collected.   

As it stands now, if the public hears anything at all about these deaths it is due to the kindness (or public relations) of the hospital.  And if hospitals do make such reports at all, the quality and detail of the information will almost certainly vary.  Certainly there is no checking of the accuracy. 

The public needs and deserves reliable, standardized, and informative reports on such deaths.  Without that, their input into this important aspect of public policy will be limited.  


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…