CORNER BROOK No matter how government decides to spin it, Eddie Joyce said the new hospital planned for Corner Brook will have less acute-care beds than the current Western Memorial Regional Hospital.
Joyce, the Liberal MHA for the Bay of Islands, has voiced his concerns over what he sees as a decrease in, or downsizing of service on the west coast before, but responses he recently received in estimates committee meetings have him more concerned for the fate of the people of the west coast.
On Monday, Joyce said the plan to free up beds for acute-care patients involves pushing others out of the hospital.
He said there are currently 199 beds at Western Memorial. Seventeen are being taken up by people who require an alternate level of care and 23 are designated as mental health beds. That leaves 159 acute-care beds.
“What we’re going to end up with, when this new so-called super hospital is built, is 138 acute-care beds.”
Joyce said that’s 21 fewer acute-care beds for people who need any assistance in the western region.
While in Corner Brook last week, Health Minister Susan Sullivan alluded to Joyce’s questioning of the bed numbers when she spoke at a Rotary Club of Corner Brook luncheon. She said the new facility will have 260 beds, including 100 for long-term care, 22 mental health and 138 for acute care.
Sullivan said the 100 dedicated long-term care beds will make a huge difference in freeing up acute-care beds that are currently used by people who require an alternate level of care.
“So what, are you just going to rush people in and rush them out? How many people are rushed out too early now and (with) not enough home service and not enough health services in their communities?” Eddie Joyce
But Joyce said the overall number still shows a reduction in beds, and last week in estimates he asked how the province will be able to serve the western region with less beds.
“The answer that I was given in estimates (by the minister) is that they’re going to reduce the stay time in hospital, post-operation or admitted, by 25 per cent,” he said. “So what, are you just going to rush people in and rush them out? How many people are rushed out too early now and (with) not enough home service and not enough health services in their communities?”
He said many of these people will end up back in the hospital, again putting a strain on the beds.
He said right now the readmission to hospital rate is higher for western Newfoundland than it is for anywhere else in the province.
“The reason why the readmission rates are higher is because of the lack of supports out in the area.”
Meanwhile, Joyce once again raised his concern over the hospital in the House of Assembly on Tuesday.