New Ontario Health report reveals crisis in healthcare system

QUEEN’S PARK – Today, Dr. Adil Shamji released the findings of a new report from Ontario Health detailing the state of crisis unfolding in provincial emergency departments. 

In the new report, Ontario Health – an agency under the jurisdiction of current Health Minister Sylvia Jones – reveals that emergency department stays increased by 15.8% in August as compared with the year prior, and length of stay for admitted patients increased by 48.2%

“For months, Doug Ford and Sylvia Jones have repeatedly told us that our healthcare system is not in crisis and that Ontarians are receiving the care they need in a timely manner,” said Dr. Shamji, MPP for Don Valley East and Ontario Liberal health critic.

“Ford and Jones have made these claims in the face of mounting ER and ICU closures, outrageous ER wait times, and against the alarmed cries of frontline workers across the province,” added Dr. Shamji. “This report quantifiably demonstrates that our healthcare system is in crisis.”

Ontario Health’s report, which largely relies upon statistics expressed as a 90th percentile, provides historical data up to August 2022. In that month, for admitted patients, 9 out of 10 ED visits were completed within 44.1 hours and 10% of admitted patients had an ED stay longer than 44.1 hours. This is 48.2% worse than the year before. Further, the average number of admitted patients across the province waiting in emergency departments for an inpatient bed every morning was 883.8 people, an increase of 53% compared to one year earlier. 

The report shows that not a single region in Ontario improved in emergency department length of stay. Ambulance offload times increased dramatically by 40.7% – up to 83 minutes – a particularly concerning trend as emergency department volumes and ambulance calls were lower in August 2022 than August 2021. This suggests that Ontarians seeking help may be actively avoiding emergency departments due to incredibly long wait times.

“This data strongly contradicts Ford and Jones’ narrative that our emergency departments are not in crisis and is an indictment of their management of the healthcare system,” said Dr. Shamji. “The government needs to acknowledge the crisis in our ERs and ensure the transparent release of real-time data related to the pressures in our emergency departments. They must also immediately provide an update on the progress they have made since August to ameliorate this crisis.

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