November 14th, 2019

Long-term care bed shortage in Ottawa going from bad to worse

OTTAWA — In its final 10 years in government, the Liberals created only a paltry 97 new long-term care beds for the entire Champlain LHIN, covering all of Ottawa and surrounding area. But, in over a year since becoming premier, Doug Ford has taken things from bad to worse — losing five long-term care beds instead of adding beds.

Those numbers, buried in the government’s own documents, were revealed by Official Opposition New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath on Thursday. They point to not only a huge problem in the seniors care system, but also a root cause of hospital hallway medicine.

“Because of the hallway medicine crisis, in hospitals all over Ontario, people wait hours in waiting rooms, comforting their crying little one and worrying. Patients spend days and nights on gurneys in busy hallways,” said Horwath. “Many seniors who need a bed in a long-term care home are stuck in the hospital because there isn’t a care home with room for them. While others are waiting at home, putting pressure on families to juggle work, raising their kids and caring for an aging parent — even when they are unable to provide for that loved one’s complex needs.”

According to the Long-Term Care Home System Report, in January 2008, the Champlain LHIN had 7,514 long-term care beds. A full decade later, in July 2018, there were 7,611 long-term care beds – just 97 more.

In August 2019, there were 7,606 beds in the entire Champlain LHIN, a loss of five since Doug Ford took over.

“Our parents and grandparents deserve compassionate and dignified long-term care where and when they need it,” said Horwath. “The Liberals let Ottawa down, and now Doug Ford is dragging Ottawa’s long-term care system backwards.”

Horwath wants an investment in long-term care, and a strategy to speed up long-term care bed construction. She’s also been calling for Doug Ford to scrap his planned $34-million cut to two long-term care funds, province-wide.

The Financial Accountability officer revealed in a report this fall that Ford’s plan falls so far short, that even if Ford builds every bed he’s promised, the long-term care wait lists will continue to balloon and the hallway medicine crisis will get worse. The NDP subsequently revealed that Ford has announced thousands of beds, but built only 21, province-wide, in over a year in government.