London MPP raising concerns about overcrowding in Ontario hospitals

London West New Democrat MPP Peggy Sattler speaking at Queen's Park. Ontario Legislature, Queen's Park

Overcrowding at Ontario hospitals was front and centre during Monday’s question period at Queen’s Park when London West New Democrat MPP Peggy Sattler raised her concerns.

She said overcrowding at London Health Sciences Centre is putting Londoners at risk. She pointed to a pair of examples.

Sattler brought up London resident Chris Punter. His heart surgery has been postponed four times and he is still waiting for the procedure.

“He was scheduled to go to University Hospital for what his surgeon expects will be a quadruple bypass on Feb. 9. Today he is still waiting for this lifesaving surgery,” said Sattler.

“It’s been postponed four times because the hospital is just too overcrowded to do it. A University Hospital VP put the blame squarely on the overcrowding crisis when she was asked why Mr. Punter’s surgery has been delayed.”

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READ MORE: Overcrowding concerns continue at London Health Science Centre

Sattler also spoke about another Londoner’s challenges. Danny Marchand was forced to wait nearly two weeks in a Collingwood hospital before he could have surgery at home.

“It took 11 days for Danny to secure a bed in his hometown of London so he could get the surgery he needed after a skiing accident in Collingwood,” Sattler said.

These health-care issues were raised the day that Dr. Eric Hoskins resigned as health minister and MPP for the Toronto riding of St. Paul.

Prior to his resignation, Hoskins responded to Sattler’s concerns during Monday’s question period.

“My sincere apologies for any family or any individual that has to go through that anxiety of having an elective surgery postponed, but it’s critically important that our system is built to serve those who need the most critical care and serve them first.”

READ MORE: Patients plead to keep LHSC’s Cardiac Fitness Institute open

Documents obtained by the NDP reveal that between May and September 2017, medical-surgical bed occupancy rates were regularly above 100 per cent capacity at London Health Sciences Centre.

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Hoskins says those numbers dropped at the end of 2017.

“London Health Sciences Centre capacity in December was 92 per cent, in November it was 94 per cent,” said Hoskins.

“In December, 99 per cent of the cardiac surgeries that were scheduled took place within the province’s targeted amount of time.”

READ MORE: Ontario creating 1,200 new hospital beds across province to ease overcrowding

NDP Leader Andrea Horvath has previously said that if elected, the New Democrats would fund hospitals to match the rates of inflation and population growth while also taking into account the unique needs of each community.

They would also stop what they say is the firing of front-line health-care workers, and ensure families can get the medicine that they need with a prescription drug plan for everyone.

The provincial election is expected to take place on or before June 7.

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