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.
Hospitals, like Mathew’s Memorial in Richard’s Landing, have faced the threat of closure recently.
Studies show that hospital-acquired infections kill between 8,000 and 12,000 Canadians a year. 42 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).
Richer will join hospital staff, who are members of CUPE, at a media conference in Richard’s Landing, Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 374, 1534 Tenth Side Road, Richard’s Landing, in a tour of northern Ontario to heighten awareness about the death toll from hospital-acquired infections and what could bring the death rate down.
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. The OCHU/CUPE infection tour will be in Blind River on Wednesday, May 4, and in Espanola on Thursday, May 5.
For more information, please contact:
Sharon Richer Northern Ontario VP, OCHU/CUPE (705) 949-6221
Marc Lafrance Francophone VP, OCHU/CUPE (613) 889-2600
Louis Rodrigues First VP, OCHU/CUPE (613) 531-1319
Stella Yeadon CUPE Communications (416) 559-9300