Media Advisory - Overcrowded hospitals, rapid turnover of patients linked to infection outbreaks

Mobile hospital room tour to fight superbugs in Stratford Tuesday

STRATFORD, ON, April 25 /CNW/ - Although medical experts are blaming hospital overcrowding (resulting from cuts to patient beds) for infection outbreaks - particularly outbreaks of antibiotic- resistant superbugs - the Ontario government plans to cut another 5,000 acute care beds province-wide. Currently, hospital bed occupancy is at record levels, over 97 per cent.

Studies show that healthcare-associated infections kill between 8,000 and 12,000 Canadians a year - 40 per cent of these deaths are in Ontario.

"Many of these deaths are preventable. Ontario should follow the lead of countries where hospital acquired infections have been drastically reduced by pro-active measures," says Michael Hurley, the president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

200 CUPE hospital and long-term care local union leaders will be in Stratford for the hospital union's annual convention, on Tuesday, April 26 to Thursday, April 28, 2011. Delegates to convention will be developing a strategic plan to defend public health care, including fighting the closure of small and rural hospitals and the elimination of thousands of acute care beds province-wide.

A mobile hospital room display will be set up as part of the convention events at the Arden Park Suites Hotel and for a media conference on Tuesday, April 26 at 1:00 p.m. Using the mobile exhibit hospital workers will demonstrate the effective and thorough cleaning practices required to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

OCHU/CUPE's mobile hospital room tour will be visiting 15 communities across northern Ontario beginning May 4. OCHU/CUPE represents 35,000 hospital workers province-wide.

SOURCE Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (CUPE)

For further information:

Michael Hurley     President, OCHU/CUPE     (416) 884-0770
Stella Yeadon CUPE Communications (416) 559-9300
Stella Yeadon
CUPE Communications
Ontario Regional Office
(416) 292-3999
(416) 559-9300 (Cell)


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