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The fix to a consistently too-full Kingston General Hospital (KGH) is “not ill patients triaging themselves at home and staying away from hospital. It’s not sick patients on gurneys in hallways with overworked staff trying to keep up. The solution to the chronic shortage of inpatient beds must be a permanent one; one that includes additional provincially funded beds at KGH,” say the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 1974 and the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU), CUPE’s provincial hospital division.

KGH has been dealing with too many patients and not enough beds for several successive months. Overcrowding is a constant at the hospital, with patient occupancy ranging between

101 percent and 121 per cent for at least the last three months.

“It would be too simplistic and hurtful to patients to suggest that these prolonged periods of hospital overcrowding are solely because of the influx of patients with the flu. Overcrowding at Ontario hospitals including at KGH is not a blip. It is chronic and system-wide, because we do not have enough hospital beds to deal with a growing and ageing population,” says OCHU president Michael Hurley.

With CUPE 1974 president Mike Rodrigues, Hurley will hold a media conference on Friday, February 17, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. at Kingston City Hall, Memorial Hall (2nd Floor), to outline how the provincial government’s “fixation with too few beds at downsized hospitals” undermines patient care and impacts hospital staff. They will also call on the province for an immediate infusion of 45 fully-funded beds at KGH.

Data shows that Ontario has the fewest hospital beds (per patient) among the provinces, and funds hospitals at 25 per cent less than the rest of Canada.