A new report suggests that patient care will become more strained in Niagara hospitals unless the regional health care system receives a significant boost in staffing and hospital beds.
The Hospital Crisis: No Capacity, No Plan, No End, released by CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU), suggests that hospitals across the province must increase staffing and capacity by 22 per cent each to meet patient needs–a target it says the provincial government is falling short of.
The report says Niagara’s health care system needs to add 1,739 additional staff and 223 more beds over the next four years. The union says the province is not on track to meet those targets, stating that staffing and capacity across Ontario will grow by less than one per cent a year over the next four years.
“We are very concerned about the growing crisis in our public hospitals, which is deeply harmful for both workers and patients. Unfortunately, the government’s plan is completely inadequate to meet the needs of a growing and aging population,” said Michael Hurley, the president of OCHU/CUPE, in a statement.
“At this rate, we are heading towards a much deeper crisis.”
The union represents 40,000 hospital workers across the province.
According to the report, Stats Canada data indicate that hospital staffing levels have only increased by 0.4 per cent since 2020. Staffing and bed shortages in Ontario hospitals were making headlines before the pandemic struck in 2020, with patients in busy hospitals reporting waiting hours–and even days–on stretchers in hallways.
Staff shortages have been reported frequently over the past two years, with health-care workers often citing heavy workloads and frozen wages as reasons for leaving the profession. The staff shortage, which is impacting hospitals across the province, has led to more