OPINION: The biggest takeaway from the auditor general’s report? Our hospitals are in deep trouble
Dec. 7, 2023
There was a time during the pandemic — I think it was during the Omicron surge, but it’s all blurred together somewhat — when it became uncomfortably clear that our doctors and other health-field experts were very, very worried.
This week saw the release of the auditor general’s annual report. The 2023 edition covers the usual array of topics. The one I opened immediately was the report on the state of Ontario’s emergency rooms.
The biggest takeaway from the report, though, at least to my eye, is the number of unplanned emergency-room closures that hit Ontario last year. Many of these made the news, especially as they got closer to large urban areas — a series in the outskirts of Ottawa got a lot of attention a few months ago. The overall big-picture number was still startling, though. Between July 2022 and June 2023, the annual reporting period, there were unplanned emergency-room closures just over 200 times. This added up to more than 5,000 hours of closed ERs over the reporting period.