Brantford General Hospital operating above safe capacity: Ontario NDP

Brantford General Hospital has been operating its acute care beds above capacity for 23 consecutive months. File / Global News

According to internal government documents released by the provincial NDP, Brantford General Hospital has been operating its acute care beds at up to 136 per cent capacity for 23 consecutive months.

The NDP used freedom of information laws to access the documents that show between January 2015 and November 2016, Brantford General Hospital’s acute care and mental health beds were operating at above safe capacity every day, reaching at times as high as 136 per cent.

The New Democrats point out that experts and the province deem 85 per cent capacity to be the maximum safe capacity limit.

“Acute care, mental health and even overflow beds are over capacity at this hospital and many others across the province,” NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said.

She added, “This is the result of years and years of Conservative and Liberal government cuts to health care. Frontline health-care staff are being asked to do more with less, and patients are paying the price.”

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LISTEN: NDP leader Andrea Horwath joins the Bill Kelly Show

According to a release from the party, nearly 60 per cent of medicine wards at large community hospitals across the province are reporting occupancy rates over the safe standard.

The release goes on to say that the last Conservative government fired 6,000 nurses, closed 28 hospitals and slashed over 7,000 hospital beds. It says Wynne’s Liberals have done even more damage, shortchanging hospitals by at least $300 million this year alone.

“We have to stop the cuts. We have to invest in care. We need a government that’s actually on the side of patients and health-care workers,” Horwath said.

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The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Horwath says her party has committed to providing predictable base funding for hospitals that will keep up with inflation and population growth.

Horwath has also called for a moratorium on any more nurse layoffs.

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