Catherine Fife MPP, Waterloo

Government of Ontario

New data reveals the Kitchener hospital overcrowding crisis is getting worse

Published on March 7, 2018

New data reveals that Kitchener hospital overcrowding crisis is getting worse

Grand River hospital is full, with some units as full as 121 per cent


KITCHENER — NDP Leader Andrea Horwath revealed shocking new data that shows the Grand River Hospital was severely overcrowded from September to December 2017, saying that Kitchener-Waterloo families shouldn’t have to settle for overcrowded hospitals and long waits for care.

Kitchener Waterloo NDP MPP Catherine Fife and NDP candidate Fitzroy Vanderpool joined Horwath in front of the Grand River Hospital Wednesday, saying health care will be a top priority for the NDP in the provincial election.

“People are waiting far too long for care – and too often, at Grand River and other hospitals, people wait only to end up on a gurney in a hallway instead of in a hospital bed,” said Horwath. “And it’s not just the emergency room that’s jam-packed. It’s heartbreaking to think that children in need of mental health care – children in crisis – are sent to a ward that’s already over 120 per cent full. The staff at the hospital are absolutely doing the best they can, but decades of switching between the Liberals and the Conservatives has left them run off their feet, doing more with less and struggling to keep up.”

Documents obtained by the NDP through a Freedom of Information request reveal that the mental health unit at the Grand River Hospital was operating at or above 100 per cent capacity every month from September through December 2017. Pediatric Mental Health occupancy reached a high of 121 per cent full in November. Surgery, Stroke and Medicine units were over 100 per cent in nearly every month over the same period. Experts agree that 85 per cent is considered a safe operating capacity.

“The Liberals have had 15 years to make hospital care a priority, but they continue to let Kitchener-Waterloo region families down,” said Horwath. “And with the Conservatives planning on cutting at least another $6.1 billion in jobs and services, they threaten to do even more damage – that’s the last thing families need. For patients, it’s time for something completely different. Not just change, but change for the better.”

Horwath has committed to make health care a priority, funding hospitals to keep pace with inflation, population growth and the unique needs of communities like Kitchener. Horwath and the NDP will give mental health care the resources and attention it deserves by creating Ontario’s first Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions. And Horwath has announced a truly universal Pharmacare for Everyone plan – a drug plan that will cover all Ontarians, regardless of age, income or job status.