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Leaked report shows Ontario hospital wait times increased about 54 per cent in a year


The Ontario government is being asked to “explain their mismanagement of the health-care system” after a leaked report showed wait times in Ontario hospital emergency rooms drastically increased in August.

The Ontario Health document, which is dated Oct. 3 and reviews historical year-by-year data for executives and emergency department chiefs, was released by the provincial Liberal Party ahead of a news conference held late Wednesday morning

The report showed that, on average, there were just under 884 patients waiting for a hospital bed every day at 8 a.m. across the province in August. This is an increase of about 53 per cent compared to August 2021.

“The evidence is damning,” MPP Dr. Adil Shamji told reporters.

“In short, the data reveals that for the month of August 2022, wait times, emergency department length of stay, time for an admitted patient to move to an inpatient bed, and ambulance offload times were the worst they have ever been when compared to every other August since 2008.”

The document also suggests that approximately nine out of 10 Ontario residents seeking hospital treatment in an emergency room waited up to 33.4 hours for an inpatient bed in August 2022, which officials say is a 54 per cent increase compared to August 2021.

According to the report, the length of stay in an emergency department in August was up to 11. 7 hours (or a 15.8 per cent increase from August 2021) for about 90 per cent of patients while the stay for admitted patients was up to 44.1 hours (representing a 48.2 per cent increase).

Ambulance offload times also jumped by about 40.7 per cent over the last year, according to the report, with patients waiting up to 83 minutes before entering the hospital.

Shamji told reporters the longer wait and offload times can impact standard of care in health facilities.

“It is considerably more stressful for the staff who are there,” he said. “And then it runs the risk that more mistakes can happen and that patients don't get necessarily the same standard of care.”

Doctors may have to find a way to clear beds for those who need it the most, leading to triaging patients in hallways or discharging patients more quickly than anticipated, Shamji said.

“It’s dangerous, it’s undignified and it’s not right.”

In response to the report, the Ontario Liberals are calling on the government to “explain their mismanagement of the health-care system” and to begin providing real-time data on the state of health care on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

Shamji added that access to homecare needs to be improved and the government needs to begin to incentivize the health-care profession to help fill staffing gaps that could be aggravating the situation.

At the same time, Shamji acknowledged that the Progressive Conservative plan to deliver more hospital beds would likely make a difference.

“In the morning, if we had 25 extra beds that would go a long way towards reducing that number. The key really is in the implementation and delivery.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health put the blame for the province’s health-care woes on the previous Liberal government, citing 15 years of mismanagement.

“They closed hospitals, laid off health care workers, and ignored solutions to the problem. Now they, the same people who created this situation, are complaining about the solution,” Hannah Jensen said.

“Our government is not okay with the status quo.”

In August, the Doug Ford government released the next phase of its “Plan to Stay Open,” which focused on health-care stability and recovery. In it, the PCs pledged to add thousands of health-care workers and free up 2,500 hospital beds.

The plan included legislation that would allow senior patients in hospital waiting to be placed in a long-term care home to be transferred to a facility not of their choosing.

The numbers presented in the report paint a different picture than the data provided publicly by Health Quality Ontario. The Liberals say this is because instead of calculating the average wait time, the Ontario Health report uses a “90th percentile” that takes extreme and severe case into consideration.

According to Health Quality Ontario, the average length of stay for patients in an emergency room being admitted to hospital was about 20.7 hours—a statistic that remains unchanged since July.

This was also the highest average wait time for hospital admissions from Ontario ERs in the last year.

In June, the average wait times in Ontario were about 19.1 hours, while in May, patients were waiting an average of 20.1 hours.

CTV News Toronto reached out to Ontario Health for comment, but received no reply. Top Stories

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