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Saskatchewan NDP sound the alarm over fire hazard at St. Paul’s Hospital

The NDP’s health critic says overcapacity at Saskatoon's St. Paul’s Hospital has reached record levels, making patients fire hazards in the hospital’s hallways. Tyler Schroeder / Global News

Saskatchewan’s official opposition is raising concerns about overcapacity, after a fire marshal identified a fire safety issue at St. Paul’s Hospital on Tuesday.

“The reality is: the Saskatoon Health Region has reached record overcapacity levels in the last couple of weeks,” said NDP health critic Danielle Chartier.

“It is so bad that patients have become fire hazards,” she said.

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The fire marshal visited the facility Tuesday and found some exits in the hospital were obstructed, according to St. Paul’s Hospital president and CEO Jean Morrison.

His observations were related to the inpatient nursing unit, where equipment was sitting in the hall. At the time, there was also one patient in a bed waiting in the hall for a room, Morrison said.

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“We have a lot of equipment and our buildings weren’t made for all the equipment we have,” Morrison said.

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On average, over the last month and a half, the hospital may have “five or eight patients who we can’t immediately get into a room,” she said.

The hospital previously converted multiple four-bed rooms into three-bed rooms. They will again house four beds, Morrison said.

Morrison denied claims by the NDP that patients “are lining the halls.”

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Saskatchewan Health Minister Jim Reiter has requested a report on the incident.

“If the fire marshal’s concerned about it, I’m very concerned about it,” Reiter said.

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