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).
Richer will join hospital staff, who are members of CUPE, at a media conference in Blind River, Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. at the Community Centre Hall (Upper Hall), 110 Indiana Avenue, Blind River, 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 Espanola on Thursday, May 5.
For more information, please contact:
Northern Ontario VP, OCHU/CUPE
Francophone VP, OCHU/CUPE
First VP, OCHU/CUPE