Ontario Hospital Beds at Dangerously Low Levels: Report

July 26, 2011 Updated: July 31, 2011

TORONTO—Hospital beds in Ontario have been declining for years and are now at a dangerous low, leaving hospitals unprepared for future unexpected incidents and also putting patient safety in danger, says a report from the Ontario Health Coalition.

With a hospital bed occupancy rate of 97.8 percent and only about 2 percent to spare, the report says Ontario has the highest rate of bed occupancy in all industrialized countries.

Since 1990, the number of hospital beds have been downsized by almost 40 percent.

“Almost 30,000 hospital beds have been closed over the last 30 years,” states the report.

Statistics from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Health Data shows that Canada isn’t the only country short on hospital beds, but the situation here ranks among the worst compared to other OECD countries.

The 2008 average number of hospital beds per capita in the 34 developed countries was 5.14 beds per 1,000 individuals. Canada’s rate was under this average, with 3.3 beds per 1,000 individuals, at only 64 percent of the average rate of other developed countries.

The rate is even lower for Ontario, with 2.5 beds per 1,000 individuals.