NDP demands Wynne government take immediate action on dangerously overcrowded West Lincoln Memorial Hospital

During Question Period today, NDP MPP for Hamilton East – Stoney Creek, Paul Miller, demanded the Wynne government take immediate action at the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital, after an NDP investigation found the hospital operating in dangerously overcrowded conditions.

“Both the Liberals and the Conservatives have a disappointing record when it comes to health care in West Niagara,” said Miller.  “Thousands of people had to rally in the 1990s to stop the Conservatives from shutting down West Lincoln Memorial Hospital. And they had to rally again, in 2012, when the Liberals cancelled the new hospital redevelopment project.  Today, the hospital is still in desperate need of replacement. We’re hearing about serious challenges in the Emergency Department.”

Through Freedom of Information, New Democrats have learned that medical and surgical beds at West Lincoln Memorial have been operating at over 100 percent capacity for the past 12 months straight.

“Why is this Liberal government forcing hospitals like West Lincoln Memorial to become dangerously overcrowded – and forcing patients to pay the price?” asked Miller.

The local LHIN says medical and surgical beds should have a maximum occupancy of 85 to 90 percent. Under the Liberal government, West Lincoln’s medical and surgical beds have been forced to operate at over 100 percent capacity for 23 of the last 30 months.  And this past September, the occupancy rate soared to over 120 percent.

“That is not just a shocking statistic. That number represents real lives.  It’s real people who are forced to deal with overcrowded conditions and long waits in hospital hallways,” Miller said.  “When will this Liberal government get serious about the state of our hospitals? When will they finally tackle the dangerous overcrowding in Ontario’s hospitals?”

West Lincoln Hospital has been operating at its current site since the 1940s. Miller said the hospital has been coping with dangerously high occupancy rate and outdated infrastructure, and despite knowing the hospital needed to be rebuilt, the Liberals cancelled its redevelopment in their 2012 budget.

“The people of West Niagara need good quality healthcare in updated facilities. But under this Liberal government, West Lincoln Hospital is outdated and overcrowded. And this government is doing nothing to help patients and staff,” Miller said.  “When will this government stop doing what Conservatives do, stop cutting our hospitals, and finally rebuild the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital?”