Leaked health documents reveal Ontario hospital wait times

By Michael Ranger and Richard Southern

Some leaked provincial health documents appear to show Ontario’s hospitals were in much more of a dire state this summer than previously known.

The new leaked documents come from Ontario Health and were obtained and leaked by the provincial Liberals.

Liberal MPP Dr. Adil Shamji says the data shows that August hospital wait times were the worst they’ve ever been compared to any other August, noting that wait times rose even as the number of patients fell. He deemed the documents to be an indictment of the Ford government’s management of the healthcare system.

“Under their own watch the healthcare system has nosedived in its performance“ Shamji says. “There is enough data here to say that many of the other potential confounding variables have remained relatively the same. It’s just the healthcare system has gotten worse.”

“It’s an indictment of Doug Ford and (Health Minister) Sylvia Jones’ leadership.”

The data reveals the majority of patients waited up to 33 hours for an inpatient bed — a 54 per cent longer wait than in August 2021. For patients in the emergency room who have been admitted but are waiting for a bed the wait time has worsened by 48 per cent year-over-year.

Over the same timespan, average ambulance offload times surged 40 per cent to 83 minutes and average emergency department stays jumped nearly 16 per cent. The average time for an initial physician assessment was longer than four hours.

The latest available data from Health Quality Ontario suggest the average wait time for patients to see a doctor was less than two hours in August. Shamji says he wants the Ford government to reveal real time data on hospital wait times.

CityNews requested comment from Jones and the Ministry of Health responded saying she was unavailable.

“For 15 years the Liberals mismanaged Ontario’s health care system,” a spokesperson for the ministry said in a statement to CityNews.

“They closed hospitals, laid off health care workers, and ignored solutions to the problem. Now they, the same people who created this situation, are complaining about the solution.”

The province revealed the next steps of its ‘Plan to Stay Open’ in August, which aimed to ease the strain on Ontario hospitals by funding private clinic surgeries and introducing legislation to allow the movement of patients to long-term-care beds outside of their communities.

This summer, dozens of hospitals in the province were forced to close their emergency rooms, beds or ICUs because of critically low staffing levels. The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) recently said people who call 9-1-1 are waiting longer for an ambulance to arrive because paramedics are spending more time offloading patients than responding to emergencies.

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