Health ministry to add 1,157 long-term care beds across province

Minister of Health Christine Elliott says beds will be distributed among 16 long-term care facilities in Ontario. Announcement means half the beds promised by Ontario PCs are on the way.

Christine Elliott says move aimed at easing overcrowding in province's hospitals

Health Minister Christine Elliott announced that the Ontario government is adding 1,157 new long term care beds at 16 facilities across the province. (Tijana Martin/The Canadian Press)

Ontario's health minister has announced new long-term care projects that will add 1,157 beds in facilities across the province.

"These beds will reduce wait times for people who need care immediately," said Deputy Premier Christine Elliott. "And will help take the pressure off hospitals allowing nurses and doctors to provide care for patients the way they were trained to do in hospital rooms and not in hospital hallways and storage rooms."

The Progressive Conservative government has promised to add 15,000 long-term care beds over five years.

Friday's announcement brings the total of beds announced to 7,232.

But Elliott says it will likely take one to two years for them to become available.

The 16 new long-term care projects announced Friday include 256 beds at the new Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care facility in Markham, 160 beds at Westmount Lodge in Orillia, and 132 beds at a Maple View Lodge expansion project in Athens, northwest of Brockville.

Elliott says new long-term care beds will ease pressures on hospitals so they can be ready for an aging population with complex care needs.

But the Canadian Union of Public Employees says more beds are just part of the solution.

In a statement to CBC Toronto, union officials caution the government doesn't appear to be paying for any additional staffing funded to go along with the beds Elliott announced.

With files from CBC News