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Hospital Unions charge Ministry shares outbreak responsibility

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Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE

Hospital Unions charge Ministry shares outbreak responsibility
Ontario's Ministry of Health shares responsibility for the outbreak of C. Difficile at the Niagara Health System, charges the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE. The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions has waged a seven year campaign around hospital acquired infections.
PHOTO CREDIT - UBC Blogspot

Toronto - Jul. 6, 2011 - Ontario's Ministry of Health shares responsibility for the outbreak of C. Difficile at the Niagara Health System, a union representing Ontario hospital staff charged today. "An ongoing reduction in the numbers of hospital beds in Niagara and across Ontario has driven up bed occupancy and created the conditions for the transmission of hospital acquired infections," says Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE. Hospital acquired infections are the fourth leading cause of death and kill between 3,500 and 5,000 people in Ontario hospitals each year. At least one half of these deaths are preventable.

"If hospital overcrowding is combined with a systematic reduction in the numbers of hospital cleaners and a refusal to require hospitals to report deaths due to hospital acquired infections, the ideal conditions are created for the spread of superbugs. The Ministry of Health has supervised the closure of 18,500 beds over the last 20 years, with over 600 cut in just this last year. This has created a dangerously high occupancy rate of 97.9%, far beyond the levels identified by the British Medical Association as increasing hospital acquired infections. It is the Ministry of Health policies which have cut hospital cleaning budgets at a time when other jurisdictions, like the United Kingdom, were hiring cleaners and deep-cleaning all of their hospitals. And it is the Ministry of Health that has not required deaths from hospital acquired infections to be publicly reported," said Hurley.

"The Ministry of Health emphasizes hand-washing. This is critical, but it is only one in a number of critical steps that must be taken to safeguard the public. The Ministry hasn't encouraged other vital protective measures. In Niagara, as in Burlington, once the deaths pile up, the Ministry sends in more cleaners. The public should expect the proactivity from the Ministry of Health that similar ministries in other countries have exhibited" says Hurley.

The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions has waged a seven year campaign around hospital acquired infections. Next week a theatre set of a hospital room visits Toronto, Hamilton, Niagara and London as part of a 30 community tour to highlight the epidemic of hospital acquired infections. The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions is holding a conference on Medical Errors and Hospital Acquired Infections in the spring of 2012 in Toronto.


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