Overcrowded Cornwall patients stuck in hallways, cubbyholes, says MPP

MPP Jim McDonell. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

QUEEN’S PARK — Overcrowding at Cornwall Community Hospital had MPP Jim McDonell putting the rhetorical squeeze on the Wynne Liberals at the provincial legislature today.

During Question Period, the Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MPP demanded the Minister of Health account for the “continued overcrowding situation” at the city hospital. Occupancy rates as high as 138 per cent have left patients stuck in hallways and stuffed into any “cubbyholes” staff can find, according to McDonell.

“This government spent more than a decade giving with one hand and taking away with the other,” he said, alleging the hospital’s budget has failed to keep pace with inflation for nine years.

“When our residents are most vulnerable and most in need, they deserve to feel secure and well cared for. Overcrowding makes that impossible. When overcrowding issues arise, all the ministry can say is that the hospital should count the patients at midnight. For patients to be in hallways and cubbyholes is unacceptable at any time of the day or night. There are no excuses – the Minister must take all action to help Cornwall Community Hospital deliver the services its staff and administrators know our residents need and deserve.”

A high incidence of Alternative Level of Care patients awaiting placements in long-term care facilities compounds the problem, according to McDonell, who says those nursing home candidates are waiting a year for placements.

He called on the government to “see the reality of a scarcity of long-term care beds in our region,” noting the Auditor General recognized this region for having the longest wait times in 2012.

The legislature will again revisit the issue at 6 p.m. this evening, according to McDonell.


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