Skip to main content

Ontario hospital length of stay in rapid decline, Canadian average now 21% longer

New hospital inpatient length of stay data published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) indicates [1] Ontario lengths of stay continue to decline, but the pace of decline has picked up, and [2] the gap between the Ontario and Canadian average length of stay is growing and has now hit startling levels.
  • Since 2007/8, Ontario inpatients have 0.6 fewer days in hospital. This is a decline in length of stay of 8.7%. The Canadian average declined only 0.1 day (1.3%). The Ontario decline corresponds with the real funding cuts for Ontario hospitals in recent years.
  • Much of this occurred in the last year -- Ontario inpatients had 0.3 fewer days in 2014-15, a decline of 4.6%.
  • The Canadian average is now 1.2 days longer – or, put another way, Canadian patients stay 19% longer. This corresponds with the extra funding Canadian hospitals get compared to Ontario hospitals. 

Canadian hosptial length of stay 21% longer  than in Ontario

The trend is even more apparent if we look at “age standardized average length of stays” (which standardizes the age of patients for all jurisdictions and time periods and so is probably a more accurate measure).
  • Since 2007/8 length of stay has declined 1 full day in Ontario – a 14.9% decline. 
  • In the last single year reported (2014/15) the age standardized lengths of stay declined half a day in Ontario – or by 8.1%.
  • The gap with the Canadian average has grown from 0.6 fewer days in Ontario in 2007/8 to 1.2 fewer days in Ontario. 

In other words, in 2007/8 the Canadian average stay for an age standardized patient was 8.9% longer, but in 2014/15 that had grown to 21% longer. Quite incredible.

Ontario age standardized length of inpatient stay declining -- and far shorter than Canadian LOS

The government has focused on removing less sick patients from hospitals and treating them at home.  So the decline in length of stay has occurred while the patients in the hospital are relatively sicker.

The more rapid decline in length of stay fits directly with the harsh funding restraint imposed on Ontario hospitals in the last few years and the increasing re-admission of patients to hospitals in Ontario.  This CIHI chart shows the number of patients per 100 patients who must be readmitted within 30 days, a major increase in a few short years.  This means that means about 9,000 more patients must now be re-admitted to Ontario hospitals every year.

Canadian hospital inpatient re-admissions increasing

In just four years between 2009/10 and 2013/14 Ontario saw a 13.6% decline in the age standardized length of stay and a 9.6% increase in re-admissions.


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…