Skip to main content

Bad health care practices follow bed cuts

Since closing 30 beds designed for non-acute patients in March, the number of  non-acute patients occupying acute care beds at Health Sciences North in Sudbury has more than doubled.
OCHU/CUPE members protesting Sudbury bed cuts

In February only 44 non-acute care patients were occupying acute care beds. But since the bed closures that number has increased: to 77 in April, 96 in May, and now 100 this week.

In other words: the Liberal government cut 30 beds and now 100  patients are waiting for more appropriate services, a 127% increase compared to before the cuts.  Every day an extra 56 patients are waiting in more expensive hospital beds set up to provide services for much more acutely ill patients.

It's hard to believe this is effective health care  -- or that it is going to save money.

As a result of the hospital back-ups there is also nowhere to care for new patients. Currently about 25 patients admitted via the emergency department await beds.  The Sudbury Star reports that the hospital has reduced the number of scheduled surgeries per day from 19 to 15 (a 21% reduction) after 30 surgeries were cancelled last month when there was no beds for the patients to recover in.  Nevertheless, the Hospital reports that four surgeries have been cancelled this week due to the back ups.

The plan is to shut another 30 such beds in March.  But a peer review of the hospital headed by Murray Martin of Hamilton Health Sciences is due out October 9.

Could this lead to a pause in the bed cuts?  This bears watching -- but I wouldn't bet on it given the Liberal government's commitment to cuts.  The focus may simply stay on managing the crisis, rather than ending it.

Comments

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…