Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU)

Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU)

July 14, 2011 12:34 ET

Media Advisory: Overcrowded hospitals, inadequate resources for cleaning, kill thousands each year

Mobile hospital room on provincial tour to fight hospital-acquired infections in Toronto Friday

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 14, 2011) - Although medical experts blame hospital overcrowding (resulting from cuts to patient beds) for infection outbreaks – particularly outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant superbugs – the Ontario government policies will lead to another 5,000 care bed cuts province-wide. 18,500 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—between 3,500 and 5000 are in Ontario. The recent deaths of 20 patients at Ontario hospitals – the majority of them in the Niagara region – from C. difficile has drawn widespread attention to the issue of hospital-acquired infections which are the fourth-leading cause of death.

"As many as half of these deaths are preventable," says Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). At Niagara Region hospitals, 16 patients have died recently from an outbreak of C. difficile. Hundreds of people from the community rallied this week to call on the Ministry of Health to act quickly to ensure there are no more deaths due to the outbreak.

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 Toronto, Friday, July 15—11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon—at the Main Legislative Building, South Grounds, Queen's Park, Toronto.

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.

The Toronto stop tomorrow marks the end of a 30 community tour to raise awareness about hospital-acquired infections.

Contact Information

    Michael Hurley
    (416) 884-0770

    Louis Rodrigues
    First VP
    (613) 531-1319

    CUPE Communications
    Stella Yeadon
    (416) 559-9300