Hamilton hospitals are being overwhelmed with patients.
St. Joseph’s Healthcare has been operating at 134 per cent capacity for three months.
The Charlton Avenue Site Director Anne Marie MacDonald tells the Spectator they are not sure why more people are coming in.
It has lead to overcrowding in the ER and other wards.
Last month, Hamilton Health Sciences activated its surge plan for both the General and Juravinski Hospital sites.
A surge plan comes into effect when the increase in demand for hospital services becomes so large that it significantly impairs the hospital’s ability to offer its full array of regular services.
HHS Director of Emergency Medicine Dr. Bill Krizmanich says they are tracking at about a 20 per cent increase in usage.
Both HHS and St. Joseph’s have reported opening dozens of unfunded beds to try to alleviate the demand.
The added volumes are overstressing ambulance services as well.
So far there’s been no easing of what is known as Code Zero events when there is only one transport ambulance, or none at all, available to respond to emergency calls.
Part of the bottleneck is being blamed on patients who can’t get transferred to long term care.
Both hospitals say there’s been a “significant rise” in blocked beds with about 65 patients at St. Joe’s and 140 at Hamilton Health Sciences affected.