Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday February 1, 2019
1,000 Ontario hospital patients a day being treated in corridors: Report
Roughly 1,000 hospital patients in Ontario are getting medical attention in corridors instead of proper treatment spaces on “any given day,” Dr. Rueben Devlin says in his first report to Premier Doug Ford on improving health care and ending “hallway medicine.”
While the retired head of Humber River Hospital notes there is “much to be proud of” in the provincial health care system, his report found it is “too complicated” to navigate after hearing from more than 340 patients.
“People are waiting too long to receive care and too often are receiving care in the wrong place; as a result, our hospitals are crowded,” Devlin, an orthopaedic surgeon, wrote in the 32-page document titled “Hallway Health Care: A System Under Strain.”
“There needs to be more effective co-ordination at both the system level, and at the point-of-care. This could achieve better value (i.e. improved health outcomes) for taxpayer money spent,” he added. “As currently designed, the health care system does not always work efficiently.”
One problem is people with mental health and addictions troubles often go to hospital emergency rooms when they could get better care from a family doctor or community agency, but wait too long and reach a “crisis point.”
According to one survey last year, 41 per cent of Ontarians who went to hospital emergency departments, and 93 per cent who went to walk-in clinics, were treated for conditions that could have been handled by a family physician or nurse practitioner in a primary care setting. This is often because hospitals are the only health care centre open 24 hours a day. (Toronto Star)