'Unacceptable': Ontario's NDP releases London hospital wait time data

Ontario’s NDP Leader says the overcrowding at London’s hospitals is growing after new numbers released Monday revealed a spike in bed occupancy rates.

Between May and September, daily bed occupancy rates were over 130 per cent

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath spent Monday at round table discussions with southwestern Ontario families discussing long term health care. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Ontario's NDP leader Andrea Horwath says the overcrowding at London's hospitals is growing after new numbers released Monday revealed a spike in bed occupancy rates.

Between May 1 and Sept. 22 this year, London Health Sciences Centre has seen mental health bed occupancy rates of over 130 per cent every day, said Horwath, who released data obtained through a freedom of information request.

On Aug. 22, the occupancy rate reached 165 per cent — well over safety standards of about 85 per cent.

"It's unacceptable," said Horwath.

There were longer ER wait times throughout the four-month period, with a daily average of 18 to 45 people who waited for a bed at the LHSC.

"It's shameful, no human being should have to deal with that and on top of it there's no privacy, there's no dignity, everybody around knows what it is that you're in a hospital for if you're stuck in an ER or hallway."

Horwath said medicine and surgical bed occupancy rates were frequently over capacity during the same period of time, with dozens of patients waiting for a bed.

In August there was a day when the occupancy rate reached 165 per cent at LHSC, well over the 85 per cent standard. (Dave Chidley)

More investment 

Last month, the province committed to providing an additional 48 hospital beds at the LHSC — with 24 beds for acute care and 24 for mental health care. 

"We're glad that announcement has been made but it's far from enough to undo the damage done," said Horwath. "It's a crisis situation."

She said there must be a commitment to funding hospitals to cover inflation, population growth and unique needs such as an aging demographic.

She was joined by Peggy Sattler and Teresa Armstrong, MPPs in the region, Monday in London to discuss the impact of hospital overcrowding on London families.

Premier Kathleen Wynne and deputy premier Deb Matthews were not immediately available for comment. 


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