Local MPP Jeff Yurek slams Ontario Liberals for hospital overcrowding

Free Press staff:

With flu season approaching, a London MPP is taking aim at the Ontario Liberals for its foot-dragging on overcrowded hospitals.

Ontario Progressive Conservative health critic Jeff Yurek says Kathleen Wynne’s government has ignored repeated warnings and created a serious capacity crisis through a combination of underfunding, cuts to the health-care system and inaction.

“This government decision to attempt to balance its books on the back of patients by cutting through hospital beds has created a dangerous situation,” Yurek, who represents Elgin-Middlesex-London, said in a statement issued Thursday.

Earlier this week, the province said it’s mulling reopening Toronto’s Humber River Regional Hospital, which closed in 2015, in a bid to increase capacity.

“While I welcome the government’s decision to reopen the old Humber River hospital site, it does not go far enough and does nothing to address the underlying issue,” Yurek said.

More than 4,100 of Ontario’s 31,000 hospital beds were unnecessarily being occupied by patients waiting for long-term care or home care, causing delays in hospitals, the auditor general said in November.

With summer wait time reaching their highest levels since the province began tracking them nine years ago, the London Health Sciences Centre, the city’s largest hospital, has asked the province for millions of dollars to staff an extra 24 beds in its psychiatric ward.