March 7th, 2018

Hamilton hospital overcrowding sees ambulance shortages skyrocket to five-year high: NDP’s Taylor

Hamilton Mountain NDP MPP Monique Taylor said that instances where there was only one ambulance or less available to respond to emergency calls has reached a five-year high because of chronic overcrowding at Hamilton hospitals.

“Hospitals in Hamilton are dangerously overcrowded because of this premier’s cuts,” said Taylor. “Patients are being treated in hallways. And, now, the number of times when ambulances aren’t available is skyrocketing. In January, we had 31 code zeros – when there was only one ambulance or none at all ready for calls in our entire city. It’s worse than we've seen it in years. And it’s completely unacceptable.

“In Hamilton, when you call an ambulance, you shouldn't have to question whether one is on the way.”

A code zero means that there is one ambulance or less to respond to emergency calls in the community. Often, these events occur because paramedics are waiting for hospital emergency department staff to take over caring for patients – known as an off-load delay.

Taylor said that the influx of code zeros is just the latest impact of chronic hospital overcrowding, caused by years of Liberal cuts and underfunding of hospitals.

“Our city is growing. People are aging. There’s a growing demand for health care services and ambulances. But this government has cut over $120 million from Hamilton Health Sciences,” said Taylor. “Patients are being treated in hallways. And paramedics – who do amazing work every day – are waiting at hospitals, instead of being ready to respond to the next call. Councillors in my city are calling on this government to start funding the new ambulance services that we need.

“It’s time for this government to stop cutting Hamilton’s hospitals, provide the funding that our hospitals need, and stop the off-load delays for ambulances in our city.”

“Why is this premier refusing to listen to the people of Hamilton and fix the problems that her cuts have created? Why is this premier doing nothing to stop the code zeros in Hamilton and make sure ambulances are always available when people need them?” asked Taylor.

Andrea Horwath and the NDP will fix the hospital overcrowding crisis with a plan to fund hospitals to inflation, population growth and the unique needs of communities like Hamilton.