June 27th, 2017

Docs show Liberal, Conservative health care cuts hurt families in Sudbury

Health Sciences North operating above safe capacity, as high as 111 per cent, for 24 months straight

Today, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and NDP Health Critic France Gélinas released internal government statistics that show Health Sciences North has been forced to operate well above safe capacity for 24 consecutive months. 

“Years and years of Conservative and Wynne Liberal cuts to health care have done serious damage. Frontline healthcare staff are being asked to do more with less, and patients are paying the price with longer waits and hallway medicine,” said Horwath.

Documents obtained by the NDP under freedom of information laws show that between January 2015 and December 2016, Health Sciences North was operating at 100 per cent capacity every day, reaching at times as high as 111 per cent. Experts deem 85 per cent capacity to be the maximum safe capacity limit. 

At the hospital’s June 2017 Annual General Meeting, it was revealed that there are now a daily average of 35 patients on stretchers in hallways and lounges due to the overcrowding issue. HSN Board Chair Nicole Everest noted: “Unfortunately, operating in a state of overcapacity has become the new normal, not only for HSN, but for hospitals across Ontario.”

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 over 7,000 hospital beds. Wynne’s Liberals have done even more damage, with years of frozen budgets and underfunding, shortchanging hospitals by at least $300 million this year alone.

“The Wynne Liberals and the Conservative party are exactly the same when it comes to health care – they cut and privatize at every opportunity,” said Gélinas, MPP for Nickel Belt. “The people of Sudbury and the North deserve better – every family does.”

The NDP has committed to providing strong, predictable base funding for hospitals that will keep up with inflation, population growth and meets the unique needs of northern, rural and small community hospitals. Horwath has called for a moratorium on layoffs of nurses and front line care providers.  Recently, she introduced the NDP’s plan to create Canada’s first universal pharmacare program, providing free medication to all Ontarians, regardless of income, age, or health history. Universal pharmacare can reduce demand on emergency services, and improve health outcomes for many patients, significantly reducing pressure on Ontario’s hospitals and care facilities.