Sudbury

Ontario's health care workers union pleased with auditor general report

The union that represents health care workers in Ontario says it agrees with most of the auditor general's report on shortcomings in the province's health care system.

Ontario Council of Hospital Unions says it has been raising concerns about overcrowding

Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk delivered her 2016 report on Wednesday. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

The union that represents health care workers in Ontario says it agrees with most of the auditor general's report on shortcomings in the province's health care system.

Officials with the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) are pleased Bonnie Lysyk's annual report, released on Wednesday, drew attention to the problem of overcrowding in hospitals.

"The access problems that you see, for example, at the Sudbury hospital, which is regularly operating at over 100 per cent," said Michael Hurley, the president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, adding that cutbacks to health care mean patients are the ones who suffer.

"That's unfortunately fairly typical of a system that's stacked patients ... in sun rooms and stacked up in corridors waiting for beds."

Hurley said that the health care criticisms, like overcrowding, leveled against the government by the auditor general's report aren't new, adding that the union has been raising the same concerns for some time now.

Impact on smaller community hospitals not measured: Hurley

One concern with Lysyk's report that Hurley noted was the lack of attention paid to problems at smaller hospitals in communities like Espanola or New Liskeard.

"What you can observe in [these] communities ... is a fairly dramatic downsizing of their acute care bed capacity, [operating room] closures and a gradual reduction in services," he said.

"Which ultimately shifts people to larger urban centres for care."
Michael Hurley, president of Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, says Health Sciences North is one of the worst examples of overcrowding in the province. Hurley says overcrowding can lead to more hospital-acquired infections. (Aadel Haleem/CBC)

That puts extra pressure on larger hospitals, like Health Sciences North in Sudbury, he said.

Hurley added that what the health care system needs to improve standards is stable, ongoing funding from the provincial government.

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