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Studies show that hospitals typically operate at their best performance when occupancy rates are at 85 per cent, and yet in Ontario many of our hospitals are running well over 85 per cent almost all the time, and some are running at over 100 per cent occupancy.

Mark Balcaen, President and CEO of the Lake of the Woods District Hospital, provides an update on overcrowding in the hospital.

“We know in our hospital that we've had times around here where all of our medical beds have been full, with 100 per cent occupancy. It has fluctuated a bit recently, but we have noticed on a day-to-day basis that it's climbing up again,” he said.

In Kenora, the province says the wait time in the emergency room can be as little as three hours for minor conditions, but can be more than seven hours for complex conditions. For Dryden, it's an average of about two hours in the emergency room for minor conditions and possibe to take almost seven hours for more complex conditions.

The wait times in the emergency room can be partially contributed to overcrowding in hospitals. Balcaen says that Kenora doesn't face the same issues as bigger hospitals in the province, but the problem still isn't solved.

“We really have a problem sometimes, provincially, with trying to accomodate patients. We have not had to put people in alcoves, or sun-rooms, or something like that in our hospital, but we certainly have had to keep people in our emergency department in stretchers for periods of time before they can get a bed. It happens, not regularly, but occasionally,” he said.

According to study in 2014, Ontario has the lowest amount of staffed, and available medical beds in Canada.

For more information:

Ontario NDP leader concerned with hospital overcrowding and ER wait times
Province says health care wait times best in Canada

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