Almost 70,000 sufferers injured in Ontario’s hospitals annually: Auditor

Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press

Printed Wednesday, December four, 2019 three:29PM EST


TORONTO – Almost 70,000 sufferers are injured whereas receiving care in Ontario’s hospitals annually, the province’s auditor normal mentioned Wednesday, calling for speedy authorities motion to assist scale back that quantity.

In her 2019 annual report, Bonnie Lysyk mentioned her staff’s audits of acute-care centres discovered that six in each 100 sufferers handled and discharged from provincial hospitals had been harmed throughout care.


“Annually, Ontario hospitals discharge a million folks,” Lysyk mentioned. “Of these, about 67,000 folks had been harmed throughout their hospital keep.”

The audit discovered that hospitals are at present not required to report so-called “never-events” – a medical error that ought to by no means occur, corresponding to leaving a overseas object inside a affected person – to the Ministry of Well being.

Lysyk mentioned her staff visited six of the 13 hospitals that observe “never-events”, and located that 214 such incidents had occurred since 2015.


Ontario’s charges of affected person hurt are the second-highest within the nation, after Nova Scotia.

Well being Minister Christine Elliott mentioned many hospitals within the province are starting to report “near-events” to the federal government.

“This reporting … is essential in order that classes may be realized and enchancment can occur,” she mentioned. “We’ll proceed to work to make sure that all hospitals do report these important incidents.”


NDP Chief Andrea Horwath mentioned years of underfunding by each Liberal and Conservative governments have contributed to the security issues.

“Hospital crowding and hallway drugs goes to make this harmful downside even worse,” she mentioned.

The report discovered hospitals did not at all times adjust to required security practices requirements, and nurses who had been repeatedly fired for incompetence had been usually rehired by different hospitals.


Hospitals and nursing businesses ought to do extra to share info with one another about poor-performing nurses, the report concludes.

Lysyk additionally discovered that disciplining medical doctors can take years and influence a hospital’s funds. The auditor discovered that in a single occasion, a hospital spent $560,000 and took a number of years to self-discipline a physician who had “apply points.” The identical doctor was additionally going through disciplinary actions at two different hospitals on the identical time, which value these establishments over $1 million.

The report mentioned a doctor’s authorized prices in issues of self-discipline are successfully paid for by the taxpayer as a result of the federal government reimburses medical doctors for his or her malpractice insurance coverage charges. Lysyk mentioned this implies medical doctors can draw out disciplinary instances for years with little value to them personally.


The report additionally probed meals and diet in long-term care houses and located that it doesn’t at all times meet high quality requirements. It usually contains an excessive amount of sugar and salt, and never sufficient fibre.

“Many (residents) require help consuming and consuming and depend on long-term-care house workers’s assist to keep up their well being,” Lysyk mentioned.

Residents in three of 5 houses that the auditor’s staff inspected had been served meals that was previous its best-before date – one of many houses served liquid complete eggs three months previous their best-before date.


The province should present adequate procedures to verify residents, who’re among the many most susceptible folks within the province, are receiving the diet they want, Lysyk mentioned.

The auditor’s staff additionally checked out addictions providers and located that wait instances for remedy, opioid-related emergency division visits and demise charges all proceed to rise regardless of elevated authorities funding.

The province doesn’t have enough insurance policies and procedures in place to ship well timed addictions providers, monitor service suppliers or measure and report on their effectiveness, the report mentioned.


Lysyk additionally notes that $40 million of the province’s $134 million opioid technique is distributed equally amongst all areas quite than based mostly on want.

“Ontario has dedicated to spend $three.eight billion over 10 years to 2026-2027 for psychological well being and addictions providers, so it is essential that funding is allotted appropriately to fulfill the wants of Ontarians,” she mentioned.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Dec. four, 2019.