As you may know, there are media stories across Ontario about emergency department overloads. Hospitals are reporting that the flu and/or other viruses have created a surge. Some are saying that the increase in volumes has been happening over months/years. In December hospitals were reporting occupancy levels well over 100 per cent in many areas -- far above internationally-accepted benchmarks for safe patient care.
Lakeridge Health has reported that all four of its hospitals are in surge. They have opened an emergency "command centre" to deal with the crisis.
The Durham Health Coalition asked us to help organize a press conference on this. The local hospital CEO has attributed the crisis to an upswing in patient volumes and the flu. We are going to point out the systemic issues (too few beds and not enough capacity to deal with yearly holiday/flu upsurge, dangerous levels of understaffing and low bed capacity, failure of the provincial government to take the situation seriously and provide adequate resources, years of underfunding).