Province funding additional beds for PRHC and area hospitals

The hospital has put guidelines in place for those who want to donate medical supplies to the health care centre.
The hospital has put guidelines in place for those who want to donate medical supplies to the health care centre. Global News Peterborough

Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) will receive funding for an additional 20 beds as part of a provincewide announcement on Monday to improve access to care.

The province is making more than 2,000 beds and spaces available, aiming to better serve patients and reduce wait times in hospitals, at home and in the community.  “Additional beds/spaces” are those that have not yet been allocated to a particular health service provider within a Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), but will be allocated based on need.

Among the funding for the Central East LHIN, PRHC will receive enough money to create 20 beds.

Earlier this month, PRHC announced it was opening 24 unfunded beds as patient volumes continued to increase.

READ MORE: Peterborough hospital to open 24 new beds to tackle patient volumes

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On Tuesday in a statement, PRHC President and CEO Dr. Peter McLaughin said the hospital will receive $1.37 million which will help offset the costs of the unfunded beds which will be open on a year-round basis.

“This funding will help to offset the costs associated with opening and staffing this new unit for the next several months,” stated McLaughlin.

Around 83,000 patients visited the emergency department in 2016-17. McLaughlin says based on volumes from April to September of this year, the hospital anticipates 90,000 visits to the ER by the end of the year.

“Any additional funding to support patient care is always welcome news,” said McLaughlin. “I would like to thank the Minister of Health and Long Term Care and the Central East LHIN for this investment into the patients and healthcare providers of Peterborough Regional Health Centre. This is a timely response to an issue we are seeing at PRHC and in hospitals across the province. Our goal is to continue providing safe, quality care for increasing numbers of patients, and this additional investment will help to support that level of care throughout the organization.”

PRHC routinely has approximately 80 patients designated Alternative Level of Care (ALC) in hospital beds who no longer require hospitalization, but who remain in hospital care because there is no safe, suitable alternative available for them in the community.

In addition, Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay and Cobourg’s Northumberland Hills Hospital will both create eight beds.

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Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, says the investment will make more than 1,200 additional hospital beds available across Ontario. This funding comes as hospitals are preparing for an annual increase in demand due to the approaching flu season.

“Our government is taking action to ensure people across Ontario have access to the care they need, when and where they need it,” he said. “By investing in hospitals, community care and home care, we are reducing wait times and improving access to health care services across our health system’s entire continuum of care.”

READ MORE: Closed Toronto hospital could re-open to address bed shortage: health minister

The province will also help patients continue to get the care they need as they transition from hospital to home by:

  • Providing 207 affordable housing units for seniors who need additional community supports when they are discharged from hospital.
  • Creating 503 transitional care spaces outside of hospital for up to 1,700 patients who don’t require care in a hospital.
  • Reopening 150 beds at Humber River Hospital’s former Finch site and 75 beds at University Health Network’s former Hillcrest site to provide care for those transitioning out of hospital.

“The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) appreciates the government’s leadership in moving swiftly to release this much-needed surge plan,” stated Anthony Dale, CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association.

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“These investments will improve the health system’s ability to serve patients this coming winter, especially during flu season. Given the extraordinary pressures currently facing Ontario’s health-care system, it is imperative that hospitals, home and community service providers and government work together and do everything possible to ensure that Ontarians have appropriate access to health services.”