Overcrowding at Sick Kids a "crisis:" Ontario NDP

There's an overcrowding crisis at Sick Kids hospital, according to the provincial NDP.

The emergency department treated more patients this January than in its 143-year history.

Every month for the past year The Hospital for Sick Kids has been running over 100 per cent capacity. In fact, just yesterday, the neonatal intensive care unit was operating at 114 per cent capacity.

NDP Health Critic, France Gelinas, blames the Wynne Liberals for shortchanging hospitals like Sick Kids and putting children in danger. 

"For too long, people in this province have been asked to settle for cuts to health care – and an overcrowding crisis in hospitals that keeps getting worse. We have the Conservatives promising $6.1 billion in further cuts, and a Liberal government who refuses to take this situation seriously, shortchanging hospitals by $300 million this year,” said Gelinas. “We have to stop choosing between bad and worse when it comes to Ontario’s hospitals. Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath has promised that an NDP government will prioritize health care funding – so that families don’t have to wonder whether or not our hospitals will be there for them in an emergency."

Gelinas toured Sick Kids today and saw every nook and cranny being used to care for children in their most vulnerable states. "What used to be offices are now patients rooms; what used to be a place for the intensive care unit and was supposed to be for 36 beds, they are now at over 42 beds all the time."

Gelinas adds the staff have had to come up with something to act as "walls" in the absence of real walls. "They put tape on the ground to remind the workers, the family, the friends that when they cross the red tape on the floor it's as if they are entering a room. So, that's where they have to put on a glove, mask, and wash their hands as if they are entering a room."

NDP leader Andrea Horwath has promised to end the overcrowding crisis by ensuring funding keeps pace with inflation, population growth and the unique needs of communities.