Get patients and equipment out of the halls – or face fines.
That’s the ultimatum the fire marshal gave St Paul’s Hospital Tuesday.
“We have more patients and equipment than space,” CEO Jean Morrison told media on Thursday afternoon.
“On occasion, patients will be in the halls while we wait to get a bed for them.”
Morrison said on any given day they have five to eight patients who can’t get a room.
“We have more patients than we can manage,” she said.
To fix the problem, they had to put four patients in a room instead of three.
“It’s very concerning,” said Health Minister Jim Reiter.
“If the fire marshal is concerned about it, I’m very concerned about it. I understand they took measures to fix it but I want to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
NDP health critic Danielle Chartier raised the issue Thursday in question period.
She blamed it on the government’s decision to reduce some of its spending at the Lighthouse.
“The Lighthouse and St. Paul’s are five minutes apart,” Chartier said. “The minister should know people who leave the Lighthouse end up at places like St. Paul’s hospital.”
Morrison linked it to a bigger problem of overcrowded hospitals in Saskatoon.
“We have more patients than we plan to care for on any given day,” she said.
“Our building was made in the 1960s when there weren’t as many people living in Saskatoon. We simply don’t have enough storage space for equipment or rooms for patients.”
Morrison affirmed the government is committed to fixing the problem.
“They’ve prioritized patient flow as a provincial priority,” she said, adding it’s not as simple as building a new hospital.
“That’s not an easy solution, not a fast solution nor a cost-effective solution,” she said.
“We’ve had a large growth of population in the city and we haven’t got all the services in place to focus on that growth, it’s a problem across the country.”
– with files from Sarah Mills.