NDP: Urgent action needed to solve capacity crisis in Ontario hospitals

With the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) raising alarm bells about a worsening capacity crisis in Ontario’s hospitals over the winter months, Ontario New Democratic Leader Andrea Horwath says the Wynne Liberals must act now to reverse decades of cuts to Ontario’s health care system.

“The last Conservative government fired 6,000 nurses, eliminated 7,000 beds, and shuttered dozens of hospitals. When the Liberals came into power, instead of reversing those cuts, they froze health care spending, slashed more front line jobs, and continued to worsen the health care crisis across this province,” said Horwath this morning. “The OHA is highlighting what many Ontarians have already experienced firsthand: Ontario’s hospitals are overcrowded, and – without a major change – things are only going to get worse."

According to the OHA, wait times in emergency departments across the province reached their highest levels ever this summer, since the government began tracking wait times. Many hospitals were operating above 100 per cent capacity. With flu season and colder weather only weeks away, health care experts are worried about how Ontario’s hospitals will cope with surging admissions in the winter months.

“With the Wynne Liberals shortchanging hospitals by over $300 million this year alone, over-capacity ERs and hallway medicine have become the norm in too many of our hospitals and communities,” said Horwath. “Ontario is home to thousands of world-class, dedicated nurses, doctors, and health care professionals. But they are being asked to do more and more, with less and less – Liberal and Conservative cuts and neglect have stretched our health care system to the breaking point.”

With the legislative session resuming at Queen’s Park this morning, Horwath is calling on Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals to take urgent action to undo the harm they have done to Ontario’s hospitals, piling onto years of Conservative cuts. 

“The people of Ontario should be able to access the care they need, when they need it – and our health care professionals should be given the resources they need to do their jobs. Enough is enough,” said Horwath. “Ontario families deserve immediate action from Premier Kathleen Wynne to resolve this capacity crisis caused by years of chronic underfunding of hospitals by her government.”

Horwath and the NDP have promised, if elected, to stop the cuts in hospitals and ensure that hospital funding, at a minimum, keeps up with inflation, population growth, and the unique health needs of Ontario communities.