10/4/12

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.

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