TORONTO, Aug. 31, 2015 /CNW/ - According to data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), less affluent women who receive obstetric care in Ontario hospitals are 20% more likely to be re-admitted. "It is increasingly clear that as hospital budgets have been slashed by the Liberal Government, the health-care gap between rich and poor in Ontario is growing," noted Michael Hurley, President of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU). "You don't do more with less, you do less with less," Hurley continued, "and we shouldn't be at all surprised that poor women are falling through the cracks this government is opening."
The recent data also confirms findings in a 2012 CIHI report, which outlined both that 25% of women who are given a cesarean section are re-admitted with infected wounds, and that, in general, aboriginal and poor Canadian's are over-represented amongst those re-admitted to hospital. "What the data suggests is that women in poorer communities are increasingly more likely to have cesareans, or to receive less obstetric care than they need. And as a result, they are more likely to be re-admitted to hospital," noted OCHU researcher, Eric Newstadt.
The consequences that follow hospital readmission are also not evenly spread. "Single mothers and aboriginal Canadians are over-represented amongst Ontario's poor. Readmission to hospital only compounds the hardships they endure," Hurley explained.
OCHU estimates that each year, between 500 and 700 women must travel within Northern Ontario, often weeks before their due date, in order to safely give birth. "Expectant mothers in Northern Ontario – the very ones that the data suggests are more likely to be re-admitted to hospital – also have to absorb hefty costs associated with lengthy hotel stays. They are forced to travel, pay the costs associated with accessing the care they need, and are then also more likely to be re-admitted to hospital," said Newstadt
As part of a campaign to better understand and document this phenomenon, OHCU has set-up a hotline. New or expectant moms who have had to travel within Northern Ontario in order to safely give birth can call 1-888-599-0770.
SOURCE Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (CUPE)
For further information: Michael Hurley President, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE: 416-884-0770; Eric Newstadt, Researcher, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE: 416-820-4493