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Overcrowded hospitals, inadequate resources for cleaning,kill thousands each year — Mobile hospital on northern Ontario tour to fight hospital-acquired infections in New Liskeard on Monday.

Although medical experts are blaming hospital overcrowding (resulting from cuts to patient beds) for infection outbreaks – particularly outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant superbugs – the Ontario government plans to cut another 5,000 acute care beds province-wide. 16,000 hospital beds have been cut in the province of Ontario since 1995. Currently, hospital bed occupancy is at record levels, over 97 per cent. 

Studies show that hospital-acquired infections kill between 8,000 and 12,000 Canadians a year. Fourty-two per cent of these deaths, between 3,200 and 4,800, are in Ontario. 

As many as half of these deaths are preventable,” says Sharon Richer, the northern Ontario vice-president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). 

To heighten awareness about the death toll from hospital-acquired infections and what could bring death rates down, Richer will join hospital staff who are members of CUPE at a media conference in New Liskeard on Monday, May 30.                                                               

A mobile hospital room display will be set up as part of the media conference to demonstrate the effective and thorough cleaning required to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria. 

Marc Lafrance, Francophone vice-president for OCHU, will also participate in the event. 

Media conference details for New Liskeard and Cochrane are as follows: 

Monday, May 30, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon
New Liskeard Riverside Place
55 Riverside Drive
New Liskeard, ON 

Tuesday, May 31, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon
Tim Horton Events Centre
7 Tim Horton Drive
Cochrane, ON 

For more information, please contact: 

Sharon Richer        
Northern Ontario VP, OCHU/CUPE    
(705) 698-6668

Marc Lafrance         
Francophone VP, OCHU/CUPE          
(613) 889-2600

Louis Rodrigues    
 (613) 531-1319

Stella Yeadon
CUPE Communications
(416) 559-9300