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.


Popular posts from this blog

Health care funding falls, again

Real provincial government health care funding per-person has fallen again this year in Ontario, the third year in a row.  Since 2009 real funding per-person has fallen 2.6% -- $63 per person. 

Across Canada real per person funding is in its fourth consecutive year of increase. Since 2009, real provincial funding across Canada is up $89 -- 3.6%.
In fact the funding gap between Ontario and Canada as a whole has gown consistently for years (as set out below in current dollars).

Ontario funds health care less than any other province -- indeed, the province that funds health care the second least (B.C.) provides $185 more per person per year, 4.7% more.  
Provincial health care spending in the rest of Canada (excluding Ontario) is now  $574 higher per person annually than in Ontario. 

 Ontario has not always provided lower than average health care funding increases-- but that has been the general pattern since 2005.
Private expenditures on health care have exceeded Ontario government increases …

Ontario long-term care staffing falls far short of other provinces

CUPE and others are campaigning for a legislated minimum average of four worked hours of nursing and personal care per resident per day in long-term care (LTC) facilities.  New research indicates that not only is LTC underfunded in Ontario, it is also understaffed compared to the other provinces. 
LTC staffing falls short:  The latest data published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (and based on a mandatory survey undertaken by Statistics Canada) indicates that staffing at long-term care (LTC) facilities falls far short of other provinces. 
Part of this is driven by a low level of provincial funding for LTC.

Ontario has 0.575 health care full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) per bed staffed and in operation.[1]  The rest of Canada reports 0.665 health care FTEs.[2] The rest of Canada has 15.7% more health care staff per bed staffed and in operation than Ontario.[3] 

No other province reports fewer LTC health care staff per resident (or per bed) than Ontario.[4]

Occupancy r…

More spending on new hospitals and new beds? Nope

Hospital funding:  There is something off about the provincial government's Budget claims on hospital capital funding (funding to build and renovate hospital beds and facilities).   

For what it is worth (which is not that much, given the long time frame the government cites), the province claims it will increase hospital capital spending over the next 10 years from $11 billion to $20 billion – or on average to about $2 billion per year.  But, this is just a notional increase from the previous announcement of future hospital capital spending. 

Moreover, even if we did take this as a serious promise and not just a wisp of smoke, the government's own reports shows they have actually funded hospital infrastructure about $3 billion a year over the 2011/12-2015/16 period.

So this “increase” is really a decrease from past actual spending. Even last year's (2016-17) hospital capital funding increase was reported in this Budget at $2.3 billion - i.e. about 15% more than they have ann…