Horwath: Liberal, Conservative healthcare cuts hurt Brant families

Brantford General Hospital operating above safe capacity, as high as 136 per cent, for 23 months straight

Today Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath released shocking internal government statistics that show Brantford General Hospital has been forced to operate its acute care beds at up to 136 per cent capacity for 23 consecutive months.

“Acute care, mental health and even overflow beds are over capacity at this hospital and many others across the province,” said Horwath who was joined by concerned community members to shine a light on the problem in Brant on Thursday. “This is the result of years and years of Conservative and Liberal government cuts to health care. Frontline health care staff are being asked to do more with less, and patients are paying the price.” 

Documents obtained by the NDP under freedom on information laws show that between January 2015 and November 2016, Brantford General Hospital’s acute care and mental health beds were operating at above safe capacity every day, reaching at times as high as 136 per cent. Experts and the province deem 85 per cent capacity to be the maximum safe capacity limit.

Across the province, nearly 60 per cent of medicine wards at large community hospitals are reporting occupancy rates over the safe standard. 

The last Conservative government fired 6,000 nurses, closed 28 hospitals and slashed over 7,000 hospital beds. Wynne’s Liberals have done even more damage, shortchanging hospitals by at least $300 million this year alone. 

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” said Horwath. “We have to stop the cuts. We have to invest in care. We need a government that’s actually on the side of patients and health care workers, instead of one that just says they are.”

The NDP has committed to providing predictable base funding for hospitals that will keep up with inflation and population growth. Horwath has called for a moratorium on any more nurse layoffs and, just recently, she introduced her party’s plan to create the first universal Pharmacare program, stating her belief that no one should have to empty their wallet just to get the medicine they need. Providing drug coverage for everyone – regardless of age, income or health history – can play a role in relieving stress on hospitals.