Province's inaction on hospital infections "shameful"



    Top-quality cleaning, lower occupancy rates needed to defeat
    hospital-acquired infections - not just telling people to clean their
    hands

    TORONTO, Sept. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - We need top-quality cleaning and lower
occupancy rates to turn the tide against hospital-acquired infections, the
Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) said today, not just limp PR
campaigns telling people to clean their hands.
    "The McGunity government has done almost nothing to address the crisis of
hospital-acquired infections," says Michael Hurley, President of OCHU, a
workers' council of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). "We're
suffering at least 2,000 deaths a year, at least 30 per cent of which are
preventable."
    As of today, hospitals will begin reporting C. Difficile cases, and in a
few months they will be required to report MRSA and VRE. CUPE has been calling
for this for some time. But the government has not required the hospitals to
report deaths, a serious shortcoming. Instead, the Ministry of Health is
launching a campaign called "Just Clean Your Hands". But it is about so much
more than just cleaning your hands, Hurley says.
    The province must move more aggressively to lower death rates in our
hospitals by lowering occupancy rates and boosting in-house cleaning capacity,
Hurley says.
    "The Ontario government must take action to lower occupancy rates in
Ontario hospitals," Hurley says. "We're at 95 percent occupancy in Ontario
hospitals, compared to about 65 percent in the Netherlands. Recent cuts at the
Rouge Valley Health Centre demonstrate how the McGunity government is willing
to force hospitals with already dangerous occupancy levels to move to even
higher levels. Overcrowding and sharing rooms and bathrooms dramatically
increases the transmission of these diseases."
    "Similarly, the province has provided no additional resources to improve
cleaning in Ontario hospitals," Hurley says. "The Liberals are ignoring future
train wrecks like in Hamilton where St Joseph's is planning to cut in-house
cleaning staff and outsource cleaning, despite the warnings of British nurses
who condemned the practice for the resulting rise in infections and drop in
cleaning standards in UK hospitals."




For further information:

For further information: Michael Hurley, President, Ontario Council of
Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE), Cell: (416) 884-0770; David Robbins, CUPE
Communications, Cell: (613) 878-1431

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