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

July 13, 2011

HAMILTON, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – July 13, 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. 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—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). At Niagara Region hospitals, 16 patients have died recently from an outbreak of C. difficileHundreds 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 Hamilton, Thursday, July 14—11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon—at the Chedoke Twin Pad Arena, 91 Chedmac Drive, Hamilton.

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.

Media conference details for Friday are as follows:
Friday, July 15 – 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon
Main Legislative Building, South Grounds
Queen’s Park
Toronto, Ontario

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