Chances are that if you are a hospital patient anywhere in Canada but Ontario, you are receiving higher levels of care. A recent report by the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE) comparing funding, staffing, nursing, and readmissions in Ontario with other provinces, reveals that Ontario’s hospital funding is much lower than funding in the rest of Canada’s hospitals, as much as $4.8 billion lower.
“The $4.8 billion shortfall in hospital funding in Ontario is counted in six hours less nursing care per patient (per year). Ontario hospitals have significantly higher readmission rates than the rest of the country because of our radically shortened lengths of stays,” says OCHU President Michael Hurley.
Using data available from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), the Fewer Hands, Less Hospital Care report shows that Ontario has fallen a long way behind other provinces since the provincial Liberals were elected in 2003 — and especially since the beginning of their austerity program in 2010.
According to CIHI, Ontario government per capita funding for hospitals is $1,395.73. The rest of Canada, excluding Ontario, spends $1,749.69 per capita on hospitals. In other words, provincial and territorial governments outside of Ontario spend $353.96 more per person on hospitals than Ontario does — 25.3 per cent more. If funding was on par with the average for the rest of Canada, says the report, there would be an additional 45,500 hospital employees, 15,200 of them nurses.
Along with local hospital sector leaders, OCHU has released the Fewer Hands, Less Hospital Care report in nearly two dozen communities across Ontario.