A seniors group says a new plan by Sudbury's hospital to cut costs and free up more beds is just a makeshift solution to a growing crisis.

The Ontario government wants more elderly to live in their own homes instead of using hospital beds. Now, Health Sciences North is going ahead with a 25-bed unit inside of a private retirement home where seniors can be treated for a few weeks before going home.

But the spokesperson with Sudbury’s Friendly to Seniors group worries there's not enough homecare workers to look after people when they do go home.

John Lindsay wants the province to build more nursing homes instead.

"There does come a point where you cannot provide ... economically ... [the] care [required] outside of an institution," Lindsay said.

"And you really have to have these institutional facilities to care for these people."

Memorial beds cost $750 per day

The CEO with the Community Care Access Centre in northeastern Ontario — an organization that manages homecare workers across the region — said his organization is looking for the right balance between homecare and long-term care.

In the short term, this new unit will free up hospital beds, Richard Joly said.

"We are committed to reducing the population that are currently residing in hospital."

The hospital officials say putting 25 beds in a private retirement home would cost the healthcare system $4 million less than having them at the old Memorial hospital site. In February, Health Sciences North will stop funding the 30 beds that are currently filled by senior — or alternate level of care — patients.

Joly noted those patients need to go into nursing homes and, if spaces in nursing homes aren't open, other arrangements need to be made.

Patients were originally placed at the Memorial site to avoid taking up hospital beds at the main site.

However, hospital officials say Health Sciences North can no longer afford the 30 beds at the Memorial — each of which cost $750 dollars per day to maintain.