ONTARIO – In a press conference on Monday, April 26 the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) called on more resources for hospitals across the province.
According to metrics provided by the OCHU, Ontario hospitals are falling behind the national average. OCHU data shows that Ontario has 45,000 fewer hospital staff members than the national average.
The OCHU data also shows that Ontario has one of the fewest numbers of hospital beds per 1,000 residents at 2.2, compared to Alberta at 2.58.
“Even before the pandemic, people were being sent home from hospital. They were turned away when they were still seriously ill,” said Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) President Michael Hurley. “With the pandemic, Ontario has been forced into some terrible choices.”
The OCHU called on the province to end “hallway medicine” and provide for greater staffing numbers in hospitals.
A press release from Progressive Conservative MPP Jim McDonell stated that his government had recently amended the COVID-19 regulations governing healthcare workers, which limited them to working at a single facility. The amendment allows long-term care facility workers who have been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus to work in multiple long-term care facilities or other healthcare settings.
Doug Allan, a Research Representative with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) stated that this was evidence of how far behind the Ontario healthcare system really is and how in need the system is for more workers.
In the provincial budget that was recently passed, the government promised $1.4 billion for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for hospital workers, and $5.4 billion to create an additional 3,100 hospital beds.